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!

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