Friday, January 16, 2009

A bold approach to portrait painting in oils 3

I now begin the second portrait sitting. As the oil paint is dry, I apply a coat of retouching varnish. This restores any colours which may have sunk and makes the surface receptive to fresh paint. “Oiling out ” is another technique which may be used. This is where you rub the surface of the painting with a soft cloth dipped in medium,as though polishing it. Again, it will liven up any “dead” areas.

As the painting is dry, I check for any areas where I wish to apply transparent glazes of colour – e.g. the nose, chin, and parts of the forehead. I now focus on the eyes, once more checking shapes and modifying the colour and tone of both the pupils and irises, trying to capture the moisture and light within them.
Using stiff pigment, I build up the texture of the flesh under the eyes and in the forehead. I flick in some of the creases, laughter lines, but soften them with a cloth or drag paint over , so they do not appear simply stuck on like theatrical make-up.
I cool down some of the more fiery flesh tones and add a cool greenish reflected light on the left side of the face. The background also is lightened and a little more detail added to the ear.
The second sitting now draws to a close.

Try using retouching varnish between sessions.
Also, try the “oiling out” method.
Experiment with glazing and scumbling techniques to see the different effects that can be achieved.

Friday, January 9, 2009

How to create a pen/ink/wash drawing 4

I have now added transparent washes of watercolour to the original drawing. These are done in successive layers with the previous one allowed to dry before the next is applied. This allows the luminosity and freshness of the watercolour to be retained. Having done this, I found that certain areas of the drawing had to be strengthened with pen/ink. e.g. the figures, the shadows under the eaves, the chimney stacks against the sky.

Pen/ink/wash is a marvellous medium for sketching en plein air. Few materials are required to be transported and one can sit quite unobtrusively drawing away without the usual crowds the sight of an easel can attract. It is ideal for rapid sketches, but its intricacy and detail can also be used to great effect in more highly finished work.

Vary the thickness of one’s line.
When cross hatching , change the angle of the pen stroke very gradually.
Never cross hatch at right angles.
Try to keep the watercolour washes fresh.
Use transparent rather than opaque colours.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

How to create a pen/ink/wash drawing 3

The drawing stage nears completion. I have continued to build up detail and tonal depth using cross hatching with both pen and brush as well as stippling or splatter techniques.

Most importantly, I have also added figures to give a sense of scale and movement and to create interest.
All that is left to do now is to add transparent washes of colour and to assess whether parts of the drawing will have to be strengthened further as a result.