Saturday, February 28, 2009

A traditional method of painting a portrait 2

The underpainting stage is nearly complete.

Continuing to work in fast drying acrylics, I have built up the detail in the various features. Close attention has been paid to the patterns of light and shade in the face whilst at the same time keeping them slightly lighter than will be required in the finished painting. The likeness has begun to emerge.
So far I have not had the problem of dealing with colour and been able to concentrate on the accuracy of likeness and tone. It is now time to change this somewhat ghostly image into a living person.

Painting a landscape in gouache 1

Gouache is one of my favourite mediums, particularly for painting out of doors. It dries rapidly, yet is still water soluble if you wish to go back into it and make alterations. It has a soft chalky quality about it , French chalk having been added to the pigments in their production.
As a result , it is a very forgiving medium allowing one to proceed with the minimum of planning, to easily make amendments and to paint light over dark.
In this particular painting I am working on Bockingford watercolour board and using Winsor and Newton designers gouache.

With a large hog’s hair brush I have very rapidly blocked in the general composition, the sweep of the river, the distant hills and indicated the position of the trees in the foreground. It has taken around 30 minutes for this initial stage of the painting.

Friday, February 27, 2009

A traditional method of painting a portrait

In this blog, I will demonstrate a much more traditional method of creating a portrait. In my previous one, it was the “alla prima” method. i.e. painting direct and tackling both tone and colour at the same time. Here the idea is to focus on the drawing and tone, before considering the use of colour.
To speed the process up, I will use acrylics as an underpainting and will be working on board primed with acrylic gesso.

I use titanium white, raw umber, viridian green and Paynes grey. The aim is to produce an almost ghostly image, with the depth of tone lighter than in the finished work. If I make it too dark I will be unable to apply my coloured glazes successfully.
The image shown is after about an hour’s work. I am getting the tilt of the head, the basic proportions and have begun to establish the features. Because acrylics dry so rapidly, it is easy to obliterate mistakes and move things around.