It's time to start adding dimension to my subject's face. The first thing I did when I started working on this painting again, was glaze yellow over the edges of her right cheek and nose where a ring of red had formed. I’m very happy with her cheek now, but I think her nose still needs some work.
Her hair needed some highlights. Because these needed to be opaque, I painted strokes of titanium white where I wanted them to be. Otherwise, they wouldn't have shown up. For the highlights themselves, I used a combination of yellow with a touch of burnt Sienna.
I was considering going over the apples of her cheeks with titanium white mixed with yellow because the highlights are just not as bright as I think they need to be. I know I’ll have to careful to blend the edges out properly of course.
It’s the day after after I wrote that last block and I’ve followed through with my plan of painting titanium white mixed with yellow over the areas I said I would. I really didn’t mix enough yellow into the white at first at it was really glaring. After I glazed some yellow over it, though, I was much happier. Now they’re starting to look like cheekbones.
Next I'm going to add flowers around her to enhance the cheerful mood of the painting.
I started the process of adding color by glazing raw sienna mixed with zinc white over this woman’s face. I decided to add my warm yellow over the parts of her face where light would hit, so cheekbones, bridge of nose and chin protrusion. I thought this would look more natural than painting it all over.
I wanted to paint a golden red over this yellow. Now, I wanted this to be golden red, not orange. I experimented to figure out how I’m going to come up with that color. I decided I was probably going to mix green into red and mix that into yellow. After this is on the canvas and dry, I’m probably going to glaze some of my red and green mixture over it.
I'm less happy with my piece after having added this last layer. That just means I need to figure out how to improve it. I need to make my shadows around the nose and cheekbones darker and my highlights brighter.
If you're interested in how I bring a piece back from being "ruined", which happens more often than you might like this video.
A few years ago, I showed you how I made a painting with a dark and spooky mood. I decided then that one of these days I would do a something about creating a calm and happy mood in a painting and now I’m finally doing it. I chose this particular photo because of the woman’s serene expression. I’ll be using mostly warm tones, yellows and oranges.
The concept of using warm colors starts with background, for which I used yellow mixed with a bit of burnt umber.
I’m using a sepia toned underpainting instead of my usual gray one for this piece. This will not inferior with the warmth of the colors I’ll be putting on top. I know this from this experiment.
I part two of this post, I'll be discussing the surface colors.
Painting A Live Model
I’ve had the opportunity to draw live models before in art classes, but today I made my first attempt at painting one. This session took place in the Craft Studio 2 of my community’s club house. I chose to work in watercolor. I started by sketching in the outline of the subject’s face and body as quickly as I could while still making it accurate. To make sure the features of the face were in the right places, I used the techniques outlined here.
When it came time to start painting, I started with the model’s flesh, which I painted by mixing yellow and purple. Now, the color I had was going to be way too dark, so I wet my paper first to dilute the color. Watercolor is probably not the best medium or the most practical medium for a short modeling session, since when you wet the paper, like I did, you have to wait for that layer to dry. When someone’s only going to be in front of you for a half an hour, you want to be able to go back and add more layers as quickly as possible.
After I painted the model’s hair, I realized I needed another layer on her face. This layer, though, was way too yellow. Nothing I could do about that, though, until it dried. In the meantime, I blocked in color on her shirt.
Once it was safe to go back over the face on my portrait, I did so with purple, making sure to thin it out of course. This toned the yellow right down. I decided to use purple for the shadows and planes on her face too. I tried to look and see where the edges of the shadows were and draw them in my piece.
My goal was more about having fun and learning than creating a masterpiece. If I was painting a model professionally, it would be done in sessions and both the model and I would take breaks. I think next time, I'll work in black and white. That will probably be easier.
Adding Background Details
Paying attention to seemingly unimportant background details can make a big difference in your piece, because of the dimension these details add. This impacts your entire piece.
Take a look at the rails on the fence this bird is perched on. In the pic on the left, I have no pattern in the wood and in the pic on the right, I do. You can probably see that the first picture looks relatively flat in comparison. When I put the first curves of the wood pattern in, I could see the clear separation between the top and sides of the rail start to form.
I was almost going to skip this part because it seemed boring and unnecessary. The bird is my focal point. As long as I have enough detail on him, I’m good, I thought. But giving the rails more dimension, by adding the details on the wood, also gave the bird more impact. Pay attention to your background and you can make your subject look even better.
Painter of portraits and wildlife