Sunday, June 5, 2011

Portrait workshop project

I've been playing with a project from an April workshop that I wanted to share.  Jane Paul Angelhart returned to the Shenandoah Valley in April and conducted a workshop for VECCA.

Jane had prepared three portrait projects for us to work on through the three-day workshop. Since I'm so meticulous on these portraits, especially at the beginning, I didn't come close to finishing the first two projects, and I missed the third day altogether because of work commitments.

However, weeks later, I've finally finished the little girl from the first day of the workshop, and I thought I'd share some images of my progress.

For her class participants, Jane provides reference photos and a 7x10 piece of watercolor paper with several critical outlines pre-drawn. Those are the red marks you can see on the first image above. (I'm posting these images larger than I normally would because they are class exercises.)

This first image is my favorite because I love the hints of color on beautiful, clean paper. There's something so fresh about an image at this stage.

As you can see in this version, I've skipped quite a few steps, but mostly the changes involve building up the skin tones of her face by using washes of Daniel Smith's Quin Coral, Perinone Orange, Quin Gold, and MaimerBlu's Sap Green. I also used gentle scrubber brushes to soften and alter the line of the highlight along her forehead.

Finally, here is the finished version, which includes several more washes along the background, additional washes on her shirt, refinement of the shape and shadows of the ear, and some more touches of wispy hair. I didn't want to fuss too much with secondary areas such as the ear, because that's not the focus of the image. Her eyes, as well as the shape of that beautiful highlight, should be the dominant element. 

I cannot stress enough how much I have learned from taking two workshops from Jane Paul Angelhart. She is an extraordinary teacher, who provides the right kind of guidance from the onset. I never thought I could paint portraits because my early attempts at mixing skin tones were always disastrous. But Jane's palette, and her enthusiastic demonstrations and advice make all the difference.

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