Monday, March 5, 2012

Alex, 12x16"

Hello Friends: I had about 2 hours with Alex to paint his portrait the other day. Since I know that I'll only have a short time, I know that I won't have a complete, detailed portrait at the end, but I do like to have a few things achieved:

1. Do I have a decent likeness? The only way to get a painting to look like the sitter is to spend a lot of time in the beginning with the underlying drawing. I try to never rush the drawing. Careful, slow observation and measuring are so important. I'd rather have a well-drawn portrait with no color than a badly drawn portrait in beautiful hues.

2. Do I have a good sense of light and shadow? The excitement in a portrait often comes from the lighting on the subject. With Alex, I pushed the lit side of his face to contrast with the shadows under his cap. I also tried to remember that the black of his cap in the light will not be black so the light will show on it.

3. Do I like the painterly quality? At the end of my time with the model, I'll stand back to see if I can lose some edges or add some thick opaque paint to give the painting more interest. I went back into the lit side of his face to lay thick new color on top of what I had already established. I stumbled the paint a bit on his shoulders and added highlights on his nose and cap.

I love painting from the model because it forces me to be decisive and quick. This method of painting is a lot like perfecting a golf swing or playing the piano-- the more you do it, the more automatic it becomes. And the more accomplished you will feel!

1 comment:

  1. Loving the contrast of the looseness of his outfit against the tightness of his face. Although the more I look at it, the more I wonder what would happen if you either loosened up his cap to be more like his shirt (right now it exists in kind of a middle ground) or brought the dark edge of his cap into the background more, worked down in to the area next to his face so that the hat is no longer where all the tube black is concentrated.

    In conclusion: me like portrait. Fast portrait is fun good portrait.