Wednesday, May 9, 2012
A good strategy for improving your painting is to work out of your comfort zone from time to time. I tend to paint landscape and townscape quite a lot. To break that up I also do still life on Thursdays with a specific setup aimed at learning something specific such as painting a specific texture such as a wool blanket or a white porcelain pot. Once in a while I paint from memory whereas I paint as much as possible from life to train the eye re value and colour.
Yesterday I did a portrait of my grandson at 10 days old. My last portrait was a self portrait done about a year ago. Well, a 10 day old from life is a real challenge. The skin is smooth and everything is very subtle. He held still for a good ten minutes and I scratched in the basic shapes and values with a few patches of colour. I made each stroke count. The next period of time was filled with burping, crying, feeding and squirming. All that on-the-spot landscape with changing conditions really helped.
10 Day Willie, 11x14, Oil on Linen
For my palette I used my usual. I work the same for all subject matter. I do reserve a spot for guest pigments but they went blank for this painting. I have done my colour charts (a la Richard Schmid) and I mix what I need. The palette was Transparent Red Oxide, Yellow Ochre, Alizarin, Cadmium Red Light, Cadmium Orange, Cadmium Yellow Deep, Cadmium Yellow Light, Viridian, Ultramarine Blue, Mineral Violet. For white I used Flemish White.