20 July 2010

First Studio Painting

That's Close Enough 2010, oil on linen, 16" x 12"
During this last break I tackled my first studio painting, a portrait of my 16-year-old daughter, Amanda.  Human beings are so complicated at this age, and I was trying to capture that whole teen angst thing. I hope that comes across in the image. I followed the procedure described here, from the "Staging Artwork" class.  Briefly, this involved value studies on small b/w thumbnails, followed by a small oil color comp, transfer to the final canvas using a free-hand/grid method, then paint.  The painting took about 30 hours to complete, not counting the photo shoot.  For the shoot I used a single overhead light to illuminate the subject, placing most of the face and torso in shadow, and brightly illuminating the arms.  Warm reflected light bounces from the arms back onto the face. I wanted a lighting scheme that required a second look.

I used the limited palette of yellow ochre pale, cad red light, transparent oxide red (TOR), viridian, ultramarine blue, titanium white, ivory black. Keeping the palette simple let me focus on value, shape, and edge.  Color will come later.  

I'm trying to avoid over-blending, it's so easy to do.  My preference is the flowing, painterly brushwork style shared by Zorn, Sorolla, and De Laszlo. In fact, the abstraction in the upper left corner of my painting is an homage, inspired by a similar pattern in the corner of a portrait Sorolla painted of his own daughter, Maria.  During the break I picked up a few books, including Joaquin Sorolla by Blanca Pons-Sorolla, which I highly recommend, if you like his style.  Also picked up a book on Degas and one on De Laszlo, both affordable and recommended.

18 comments:

  1. A lovely portrait of your daughter, Candace! Well done!

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  2. I def think you've got the angst, it's very subtle and therefore very real. Spot on, in fact. Good call re limited palette, it really gives the piece unity. Great stuff, Candace.

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  3. Nicely done Candace! I think you captured "that look" just right. I like how you handled the lighting, portraying a harsh light but not overdone in the shadows.
    (btw, just judging from your profile photo I was surprised to see that you had a 16 year old daughter. kind of blew me away for a second, you didn't seem old enough)

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  4. a great portrait of adolescence, Candace ... the pose itself is eloquent, the back of the chair and crossed arms forming a protective barricade, the slight tilt of the head interrogating the viewer, they direct eye contact confronting our gaze, the head and neck slightly lowered as if burdened by our presence, the mouth turn slightly down to show it is not amused by our interest ... but the sad eyes reveal the vulnerability ... a figure caught between a fierce demand for independence yet still yearning the love and protection she had known throughout childhood ... beautiful work

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  5. Your daughter is so beautiful! You've painted her so well. I love the strong lighting and the limited palette.

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  6. Very very nice, love the lighting.
    Always enjoy seeing what you are up to.

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  7. This is beautiful. Her expression looks very "teenager-y," kind of irritated and brooding. The skin tones look especially good.

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  8. Oh, I think you got the mood beautifully!
    Did she like it? (Being a teen, perhaps she wouldn't admit that?)

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  9. Fascinating work.
    It has been delightful
    to visit your gallery.
    Good Creations

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  10. I read your comment on Harry Kent's howling self-portrait, and then his response. I had to come see this person he was talking about, and I am not disappointed! Wow! Fantastic work!

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  11. Beautifully done. Having had teenagers, I understand the "look." I'm curious how she feels about the portrait. Again, skillful and captivating.

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  12. great composition and mood - I feel like we are sharing a moment - you feel empathy and intelligence in her eyes - the arms are just cautious enough yet she is approachable...wonderful.

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  13. What a great painting. Reminded me of when my daughter was that age. She would get the same "look" and I would enjoy trying to get the corners of the lips to turn up just a little. The eyes tell it all.

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  14. Some great things happening on this page.

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  15. Hi, I'm just starting on portraits myself. Very challenging. This is a beautiful piece. I can truly appreciate the work involved in doing this...

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  16. Your daughter must be so pleased. It is a gorgeous painting of a gorgeous and interesting teenager.

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  17. Thats close enough , strong one .

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