Wednesday, May 9, 2012

More Exercise

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.

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