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Monday, 30 November 2015

Portrait Painting Progress

The last couple of weekends, I have gotten in 5 - 6 hours on my personal portrait of my daughter. It's slow going but I feel happy painting again.

There are some issues with the arm on viewer left, which I will need to solve still.

The biggest obstacle I am facing is I do not really have a work space, a studio space if you will. I have been basically sitting on the floor but this does not allow for comfort, sitting cross legged on my pillow on the floor of the living room. I don't have the painting up high enough to work on the bottom of it. To sit at my drafting table, I would need to angle my board at such an angle that I cannot put my paints, my plate that I use for a palette, nor my mug that I have water in to rinse brushes. I used to have wire coat hangers bent in a way that I could hang my canvas off them from the top edge of my board, but I'm unsure where they are since having moved a few years ago. New ones would need to be made.

In any event, it so far is going ok. Background will be what I work on for a while. Though, always, I stray.

Sometimes a colour I mix for one area, intended for a different part of the painting all together I end up by instinct using it in the skin, and it tends to always work. I feel that this happens, especially with neutrals, because we tend to Think we know what pigments should work to mix skin tones and hone in on those, when really, skin tones have way more neutrals in them than we think. Therefore, when Not intending the colour I mix to be for the body, I end up mixing something that just Works. But I know I do this, from so many portraits in the past, so I in a way now lead myself down this same very path every time intentionally :-) Mix my background colours and neutrals, mix my hair neutrals, and voila, use them in the skin too.

The canvas I used to buy, from Curry's, I could no longer find after a while, one where I could rub such a soft layering of velvety dry brush blending with colour over colour. This canvas I can purchase now does not have quite that finish on it so I've had to adapt to the difference.

It will be a long go, probably over a year, but I am happy so far with the beginning progress stage.

Sunday, 8 November 2015

Under Painting Stage of Current Personal Portrait

Have managed to get to the under painting stage of my daughter's portrait. I've been managing by sitting on a pillow on the floor with a borrowed light off to the left side, clamped to a tall iron candle holder stand, a light my husband has lent me. I'm basically just working with burnt umber, a bit of cadmium red medium and a tough of raw sienna, with a large soft brush, rubbing and dry brushing the pigment in a circular motion onto the canvas surface.

Once I establish the built up tonal values in the background, then colour can be begun to be dry brushed over top, as well as highlights. Edges will get cleaned up the further the painting process goes.

There are still a bit of issues with the arm and hands drawing, but it should get solved in the painting stage. After having drawn the one arm 3 times, and the other arm twice, I decided to leave as is for now and tackle the minor corrections in the painting stage.