Monday, January 3, 2011

A free painting demonstration.

Commissioned Portrait Oil on canvas 20"x 16" Singer/ Saxophone player Louis Jordan said it best in his song from the 1940's Look out sister, look out. I'll quote him by saying, "I'm giving you knowledge straight from the shelf- This is some jive I've used myself - I've found it to be successful to a marked degree and I'm giving to you for free" And so this will begin the first of what I hope will be many more painting demonstrations in my art blog. This piece was commissioned by a relative as a wedding anniversary gift.

Step 1.
I first prime the canvas with white gesso and then I sand it down. I'll usually apply a minimum of two coats of gesso and sandpaper each coat after it dries. This make the surface of the canvas smoother and allows me to blend the colors with greater ease during the painting process. Then I begin the pencil drawing using the photo reference.

Step 2.
The finished drawing. You'll notice a brownish stain on the lower half of the canvas. No, that wasn't coffee that I threw at the canvas in a fit of frustration................not this time anyway. That was an earlier version of the painting that I started but then I rubbed it out because of composition issues in the least I think that's what the problem was, I can't remember but, because oil paint is a very forgiving medium, you can make endless corrections any time you want.

Step 3.
Laying the darkest values in the face.

Step 4
Establishing the overall color and value of the face.
You'll notice that when your in the blocking in phase of a human portrait it can start to look kind of weird at first but it comes together in the end. Your basically building the likeness of the subject. A house, for instance, will look odd when it is still under construction, like wise with a portrait.

Step 4
Note to self : Make sure your camera is in focus before you upload the image to your blog page.

Step 5
Blocking in the hair

This is the way I lay out the colors on my palette. I learned to arrange the colors on the palette from when I was at PAIER college. I still arrange my palette in the same order.

Step 6
Blending the values of the face and hair.
Step 7
Blocking in the back using the same process in creating the face.
Note to self : Keep that camera in focus, your no Steven Spielberg.
Step 8
Blocking the flowers.

Step 9
Establishing the general color and value of the flowers. Step 10
Back to the face. I lay in more values to define the facial features.This is Jamie our cat seconds before I sprayed the daylights out of her with a water filled squirt bottle for nearly knocking over my paint thinner. " How many times does I have to tells ya' to stay away from my painting area ya' pesty varmint!!!!!!!!!!!??????"

Step 11
Working in the background. Starting with a dark, warm and muddy color in the lower half of the background and a cool blue color in the upper half of the background, I'll go back to these areas in phases, adding layers of colors and values until I have an idea of which direction I'd like to go as far what the background will look like. I had an idea of what would be in the background when I started but I chose to focus on the composition aspect of the background and then worry about the details later in the painting. Working further on the background.
Detail of the flowers getting closer to the finished painting.
Detail of the dress nearing the finish of the painting

Detail of the face after blending the colors and values to get the likeness. This painting took altogether a week to complete but I don't work on just one painting at a time. Usually I'll have a number of paintings going on at the same time and I'll go back and forth working on different ones at various stages of completion. I have the attention span of a gnat when I'm working on a painting so when I need to take a break from one painting I can go to another and then when I get tired of that one I'll go back to the prior one with a fresh eye.

The finished painting.