Thursday, July 23, 2009

Painting a Colourful Portrait in oils 3

Today was my third portrait sitting with Judy. Prior to it I had spent a lot of time painting her costume as well as considering what to do with the background.

As can be seen if you compare this with my previous blog, I have begun to paint her headdress and necklace in much greater detail. Each particular section (e.g. orange) I painted in a slightly darker tone . With a fine sable, I then outlined the rows of beads . Then it was time to apply a mid tone , before flicking in little pinpoints of light. My original dark tone acts as the shadow area between the beads. All that remains, when this is dry, is to indicate individual shadows on the beads. The triangular metal piece on her head dress (which indicates she is a married woman) still requires some light, shade and reflection to be added. The white strings are simply blocked in at the moment and also need a bit more definition and shadow.

A close up detail of her necklace illustrating the technique described above.
I have also been working on other areas of the costume, and blocking in the large patterns. It is indeed time consuming but there is no way it can be rushed. With her cloak, I am beginning to suggest the folds and creases. These will have to be completed before I superimpose patterns of little black dots.
I have also added at this stage a very colourful bangle and belt.

During our sitting today, I focused on her face, looking at the cool bluish reflection on the left, trying to correct the modelling in her neck, chin and around her mouth. The hair had to be adjusted also.
The background I have also started. Initially, I thought of a bold bright colour like pale blue. But i have now decided to apply gold instead, with all its connotations. The photograph, however, does not convey the richness of it.

This is how the portrait now looks at the end of the third sitting.

Keep watching my blog to see how the painting develops and how it looks when completed.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Painting a Colourful Portrait in Oils – 2

Today, I had my second portrait sitting with Judy lasting around 2 hours. As previously stated I focused on painting her head and hands.

Portrait of a Kenyan Lady

Initially, I concentrated on the eyes. I looked at the shape of the lids, both upper and lower. For the cool highlights on the upper lids I introduced some Kings light blue into my basic fleshtone. The lower lids in the corners were a mixture of raw sienna and alizarin crimson. I again used the light blue as these turned into the light. I darkened the intensity of the pupil and iris with a combination of burnt umber and ultramarine.
I modified the shape of the mouth, widening it slightly. On both upper and lower lips I used a mixture of light blue and rose dore for the highlights. For the shadow cast by the upper lip burnt umber and magenta were emloyed with below this a touch of cadmium red light.
I then tried to soften the various fleshtones in the face. The basic colour was raw sienna +yellow ochre + white. At other times I added a little touch of cadmium red or light blue depending on whether it was warmer or cooler. For the shadow areas, I used ultramarine or magenta mixed into the sienna.
By now, time was running out. Quickly the hands were blocked in using the same mixtures as above, but a lot more cad. red to capture the reflection from the dress.

Detail of Hands

As I said in my previous blog, it was my intention to do more work on the costume prior to today’s sitting. This has been very slow as there is simply no fast way of achieving the effect I want. As you will see I have started blocking in the various patterns. The collar in particular requires a huge amount more work to show how it comprises of hundreds of beads catching the light and is not simply a flat shape. This will be the task for the coming week.

Portrait of a Kenyan Lady ( stage 2)

My next “live” session is on Thursday 23rd when I will be trying to bring head and hands to near completion. I am also considering my options for the background. But more of this in my next blog!