Tuesday, March 31, 2015

More Fussing Over The Details

Spent today working on more details.  Softening edges and adjusting colors.  Worked on the eyes, little changes that make a huge difference to the overall painting.  Sat for a half hour with a pencil and tablet writing down what needs changing for the next session.  I still want to do something to the right side of the sofa, tone down the brightness of that yellow so that it does not scream for attention.  It was a very good day in the studio overall, so I am headed to the kitchen for a glass of wine to celebrate the fact that I did not screw it up today.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Deepening Some Shadows

OK, forgot to point out that the right side of the face, which is in shadow, was way too light in some spots.  In the corner of the eye and beneath the nose and where the neck meets the shirt collar, I darkened some shadows today.  Now that I see this image on the computer, I am thinking the entire shadow side of the face may need to go down another value on the value scale.  I will check this out tomorrow, but for now, I am liking this overall.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

More Fussing Around

Fussing around today with the moustache, needed to lower the left side a bit so that the hairs are visible in front of the lip.  Added lots of detail (tiny bits of color) to the beard as well as the skin that is just below the beard.  I actually put skin color on and then drag it back into the edge of the beard.
Next, I somehow lost the top of the left ear a while back.  So I repainted it and added more light to the lobe and edges.  Decided the edges were too harsh, so took a small brush and blended them into the background.....creating a soft edge.

Friday, March 27, 2015

In The Final Stretch

I am now at the phase of my technique which I fondly call, Screwing it Up.  This is the stage at which I fuss and fuss with tiny details and bits of color.  This is the stage where it will be hard for you to see the changes I make.   This is the stage that can often lead me to ruin.  I am also very bad about knowing when to quit.  Just looking at this image now, I see how hard most of my edges are.  I will go back to work tomorrow and soften some more of the edges.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Coat Lapel Changes

On the left you see the coat lapel as originally painted.   Walked into the studio today and said NO WAY.  So I fixed it.  I think the entire coat is way too busy and may just rework more of it and take away the fussy folds.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Studio Fatigue Matts

Here are my new fatigue matts in the studio.  They worked well for me yesterday.  Worked for 6 hours and had very little back and leg pain last night. 

Monday, March 23, 2015

Background Revision

Well, after looking at the two versions of the background on the computer again, I just had to return it to the darkened state that I originally painted.  The lighter version just made the arm on the couch seem like it was cut out.  I also dropped that shoulder a bit and now the arm looks relaxed and firmly planted onto the couch arm. 

Saturday, March 21, 2015

The Importance of Standing

Worked on the portrait most of yesterday.  I sit most of the time these days, spinal stenosis and concrete floors do not a happy artist, make.  So when I was finished for the day, I walked over to turn off the music and when I turned around, I could not believe my eyes and what I had done today.  Nothing looked correct from across the room.  So, I walked back over to the canvas and promptly removed what I had done today. 
The important lesson here is, If you are sitting right on top of your work, you can not possibly get a good overall view of the work.  Your perspective will be skewed and shapes will become incorrect.  Throughout most of the day, if you are sitting, you must get up and step back from the art, getting a new perspective.  This will make a big difference in the work you are doing. 
I am going to head into town today, over to the Hardware store, and pick up some of those rubber fatigue matt squares and cover a large portion of my concrete studio floor with them so that I can stand at the easel and back up from the easel, without making my lower back and legs ache.  Finally, Shame on Me, I should know better.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Background Adjustments

Well, I thought since I had an hour after dinner last night, I would lighten the background a bit on the left side.  I was feeling that the coat and arm were getting lost in the background and I had also just been reading my Portrait Society Journal and admiring a portrait by @Ellen Cooper.  I was liking the treatment she used for a black coat and decided to make the adjustments.  Now that I see mine on the computer monitor, I am not so sure I like this for my painting.  I will think on it for a day or so.  Stay tuned to see if I change it back. 

Friday, March 13, 2015

Still Working on Hands

These two shots show you the before and after of my short session yesterday.  Mom has improved dramatically, but I am still visiting daily, so I am working in short sessions. 

I hope you can see from my poor photos, that I have worked on the shadow areas of the fingers on the bottom hand.  I have strengthened the shadows under the fingers on the chair arm, which makes the hand move forward in space and pushes back the chair arm.  I have worked on the coat sleeve and increased the depth in the area of his coat, leg and chair arm, where the three meet.  You may also be able to see that I adjusted the shape of his upper hand by simply creating a shadow beneath it that does not go all the way up to the edge of the hand.  I added a tiny drop of pink next to the pale blue highlight on the crystal in the ring. 

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Relaxing That Smile

At one point the smile was looking unnatural to me, so here I have relaxed it a bit.  I am satisfied with my colors but hope to re-work the mustache again since working on the lip messed it up a bit.  These teeth are an excellent example of my previous post about cool colors placed against warm colors.  The highlight on the teeth is a mixture of Titanium White and Phthalo Green.   I use this green in my shadows a lot.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015


I painted in the buttons recently and am finally getting around to posting.  These buttons were simply suggested.  They are not what the painting is about, nor are they the center of attention and so there is no real detail in them.  Some areas of the painting are treated this way and stay as originally painted and yet other areas handled this way will be repainted as I near the end of the painting.  I will go back and add more detail and adjustments, hopefully I will not overwork these areas. 

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Camera Color Wonky

Looking back at the posting for the day I painted the ring, I see my camera made everything look toooooooooooooooo yellow and I had the camera so close, the details looked very loose and sloppy.  The color here looks much more natural and the detail is better. 
So....I want to point out the importance of using cool and warm colors in flesh.  Looking at the very light flesh here, you can see a very pale pink, made up of Titanium White and Permanent Rose. Then right next to that color I have placed a mix of Titanium White and a bit of Indian Yellow.  Placing a cool highlight next to a warm highlight makes each pop.  Look at the pale cool pink on his cheek....it really pops.  You see it again on the tip of his nose. 

Monday, March 9, 2015

Shadow Colors

Because of my current family crisis, I spent today pre posting some stuff for the blog for the times I will not be able to paint.  I will release these postings from time to time until I can get back on schedule and back in the studio.
This close-up is to illustrate how shadows can be either cool or warm in tone.  Most of the time the following will hold true....Warm light source, cool shadows or Cool light source, warm shadows.  Every rule can be broken if handled correctly.  Around this eye you see cool shadows because my light source was a warm incandescent light.  But, my reference photo revealed to me a very warm color shadow in the crease of the eye starting in the shadow and moving into the light.  There is a very warm shadow in the nostrils also.  Same for the ear canal. Remember, Trust Your Eyes, paint what you see.

Friday, March 6, 2015

Snow Day Work

We are snowed in once again.  Painting is a wonderful escape from the sadness currently going on at Western View Studio.  Here are two progress shots from yesterday. I focused on the ring and surrounding areas.   I may get out again today, but if not, I will resume work on the painting.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Brief Absence

I am sad to report that my mother is now under the care of Hospice and I am going to be absent from this blog for a bit.  I will resume the portrait demonstration as soon as I am able.  Thank You for following along. 

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

More Hand Work

Really got going on the bottom hand today.  Painted mostly on the areas that are in light.  My time was short today, but I did manage to fix that maniacal smile.  I just forgot to photograph it.  I will do that next time.  I still have the three fingers and thumb to block in and then I will move into finessing and details of this hand.  I am looking forward to the challenge of the ring. 

Monday, March 2, 2015

Back To Work on The Hands

I spent the entire afternoon working on this hand and watch.  I think it has started to take shape and the color may need a bit more adjusting.  I placed my dark areas first and then worked on midtones.  If you think that I make this look easy....believe me, it's a real struggle some days.  I go back and forth on some areas such as hands.  First they look good, then they look wrong.  I get up to answer the phone and when I come back, I hate what I have painted.  It is a rare day when I don't struggle with my art.