Monday, September 03, 2007

Starting Fresh

Yesterday I had the opportunity to start a new portrait. I love the beginning of a painting. Lately I've been toning my panels (I like linen panels from New Traditions) with Mars black. I take the paint, which is relatively lean, and add some underpainting medium from Studio Products, then thin with turp to a consistency of thin cream. I brush that on and then wipe back to about value 5. Then I'm ready to paint.

My sitter arrived right on time and we took some time to look around the studio before choosing a spot for her chair. After a few false starts, we settled on a well-lighted spot in front of the studio door. I shot perhaps a dozen reference photos and then started an oil sketch. I used zinc white and lead white, cad yellow light, cad red light, irgazine ruby, burnt sienna, raw umber, and ivory black.

I don't paint the the same way every time, but these last months I've been using raw umber thinned with turp to lay in an initial, rough drawing. The drawing is mostly simple outlines and landmarks at first, but then I begin to lay in the darkest masses. The toned canvas is the mid-range of values, and then I can add lighter values.

Here's a glimpse of about 90 minutes' work yesterday. I clipped the reference photo onto the panel this morning as I began working on the likeness. While the sitter was here I was much more concerned with color notes. Today we work on the resemblance.

Also, I put the finishing touches on that streetscape I sketched and posted below. Here's "Victor's," oil on panel, 12x16. It will be shipped as soon as framing is completed. I sent a jpeg to the patron and he was delighted. It's great to make somebody happy.

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