Saturday, June 26, 2010

Kadie Redux

On the last day of the Angelhart workshop, I decided that I would apply the techniques to my Kadie portrait -- the first portrait I had ever painted, which I finished in the spring of 2009.

Well, let's just say that what I did at the workshop doesn't merit sharing. I got the shadow areas too opaque too quickly, and tossed the painting as a false start.

So when I got home, I decided to start again.

Here are the early stages of the painting. The original painting was a more traditional head-and-shoulders image and included her left hand as she was holding it up (I think she was in the process of waving goodbye when I snapped the reference photo). For this exercise, I cropped to just her face. I never liked how her hand came out in the original. It was badly drawn and out of proportion to her face.

The face washes are mostly built with quin gold, quin coral and perinone orange, all pigments that Angelhart heavily relies on for building skin tones.

These are pigments from Daniel Smith, which first I worried about because I thought they were so much more expensive. Turns out, when you compare the same-size tube, they're not any more expensive than Winsor & Newton. It's just that W&N offers pigments in 5 ml tubes, so instinctively you think that paying $13.44 for a 15 ml tube of Daniel Smith Cobalt Blue is terrible. In fact, the 14 ml tube of W&N Cobalt Blue costs more -- $15.72 (priced at

Here I am still building up skin tones and adding darks to help me gauge values.

And here's pretty much where I am right now. I've done a bit more work since this image was taken, but it's been nearly two weeks since I last touched any of my brushes. I hope to get back into the groove a little bit this weekend. I've got a lot to do on her hair (which is very different than the approach I took with the original), and I think I've got to lighten some areas around her face.

I'm really struggling with trying to make colors bold enough to be seen from across a room, but also work when seen from only a short distance. I guess that's where working on large pieces is a benefit. You can eliminate the "close-up" view from the equation because you can only process the image from a distance.

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