Saturday, July 16, 2011

Lucie and the Wind, Part 3

Posted by: Kate

Now that I've painted the face, it's time to paint the face.  Again and again until it's right.  I use pure paint but it tends to go on very thin, partly because of the surface I paint on (slick oil-primed stuff) and partly because I pet the paint to death on the canvas, so it doesn't hurt to have several layers of paint all describing the same thing the same way, because one day the paint will go transparent and if there aren't enough paint layers to hide it, the drybrush from an unfinished nude might start to show through.

Even though I established some pretty nuanced passages last time around, it's more time-efficient to obliterate them and repaint them than to try to put a dab of the exact same colour over every square inch of the canvas.  Not only is it faster, but I get better at being a painter and not a dab-matcher.  Instead of playing paint-by-numbers, I get more efficient each time around at painting the thing I'm supposed to be painting.

Here's what I mean by obliterate:

Over top of my nicely turning cheek, I've laid down some flat bands of colour, which is exactly how I started it the first time around.  I've labeled them so that you can see each one.  Each band shifts in hue and value, and to a less obvious extent, chroma.  If at least two of those qualities hasn't changed from one bar to the next, I'm breaking the form down too much.  I exaggerate the hue and chroma at this stage, but try to keep the values right.

This is what it looks like half and hour later:
I don't blend to get here.  After establishing the main colour bands, I take my trusty No 2 bristle filberts and create ever more narrow bands between the bands, using small strokes to nudge values back and forth to get the form to pop.  If I start to lose a colour at a certain point in the form, like the pink in her cheek, I lay down a nice big band of colour again and start over in that area.

Now the same for the chin:

Colour "D" shifts in hue as it wraps the form.
By the time this photo was taken I had worked the whole of the face, including laying down simplified values for the eyes.

The next day I noodled around with the background.  Noodling is a time consuming and inefficient technique reserved for painting things I don't know how to paint.  My notes from that day say "Jan 17-Trying hard not to make it suck."  It would have been nice to go outside and actually look at some grass, but the snow was up to our knees so I was going off of memory and some lousy references.

Next time, the coat.

Here's the start of a cherry study I've been working on:

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