Friday, March 22, 2013

Shamefully behind

Please excuse my shameful lack of continuing my WIPs of this painting as I promised. But my excuse is a good one. I have been painting hours on hours and too pooped at the end of the day to deal with the computer. I am almost done with this portrait and much farther along than this stage by now. Now it is clean up work and approval by the owner before I post the final. 
My next project is taxes, then a portrait of our congressman David Dreier for the City Hall portrait gallery. He is retiring and this is his gift from the city of San Dimas. Then it is paintings for the Western show, Fallbrook show, more portraits...and on...and on.. and on... 

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

WIP Marilyn and Java

Please pardon the bad photography, but after a long day of painting, looking at a computer screen is the last thing my tired eyes want to do.

Here we see more layering. I laid out a new clean pallete and new paint. I glazed over the underpainting and will continue this until it is done. I push the darks and pull out the lights. I use a liquin medium to thin the color and in the darker areas, I do direct painting with thick brushstrokes.

You will see my confidence grow with each layer and I will get bolder with each layer. In my acting days, I saw an interview with Sir Lawrence Olivier. He said the day he did not get nervous before he went on stage was the day that he quit acting. I approach my paintings the same way...can I do it? How do I do it? As it starts to come together I get bolder with my approach. Don't get me wrong, a good dose of confidence goes a long way, but a bit of humility does too. It forces me to look hard at the subject, ask questions, adjust, and treat my subject with the respect that it deserves.

Give yourself freedom and don't get hung up in the details too much. Remember, you are doing a painting not a photo. Correct things, look closely at the things in the photo that need adjustments. DO NOT be a slave to your reference. Trust your eye, not the photo. A perfect example of this are bears. They have tiny eyes. It works in the photo but not in the painting. I always take a bit of artistic license and make them just a bit larger in my painting, this gives the face a balance and life. Portraits are no different, look at the reference and decide where you need to adjust tonal values, highlights, etc.

I was asked about leaving some construction lines, or pencil lines. Yes, I don't always cover all of them. It is not necessary to cover everything. I learned this from a wonderful artist, Mark Eberhard. It gives the painting a painterly effect but does not distract.
 Here is the glazing process. It gives me a "base" that I can build from.
I move from left to right so I won't lay my hand in paint, not that I didn't 1200 times today, but it helps.
I will post more answers to questions (thank you guys, by the way) in the next post.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Marilyn and Java

I don't take many commissions as I have a hard time as it is keeping up with the galleries and art shows, but I do sneak one in every now and then. This is a portrait of Marilyn and her horse Java.
My past students in classes I have done have asked me to do a step by step so they can follow along, and I am pleased to do it. My process is soooo slow, that showing them this technique is impossible to do in my workshops, so this is the best I can do for them.
1> Reference is key. Marilyn had a professional photographer take the picture and together we chose which one we would use. The reference is wonderful and is going to make the process a lot easier.

2> Laying in the drawing. I do several sketches on paper then move that to the board. Here I am using an ampersand gesso board with just enough tooth to grab the color off the brush.

3> Then glaze glaze glaze. I lay in layer after layer of Burnt Umber, Burnt Sienna, Van Dyke Brown, Ult Blue. I push the highlights and the darks as I go, pulling them out with drybrush techniques. Each layer has to dry before I start the next or the medium will pull up the color.
 This is the initial glazing stage, I block in the local color and lock in my pencil drawing. As I move from place  to place on the painting, I will correct and work on my initial drawing. This keeps my mind active and I don't get complacent that the drawing is "done".
Laying in the base of the saddle. Important here to remember, the face and horse are the focus of the painting, Don't get too lost in detail or you will not give your eye a place rest and it will pull away from the original intent of the painting. (I am one to talk, I am the worst at stopping when I start detail)

Don't rush this stage, it is the foundation of your painting. Once you lay it in, it is a breeze from there.

If you have any questions, please email me directly, I don't always check the comment section of my blog and could miss your question. You should have it from class.

Next guessed it...glazing. :0