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Step-by-Step Sketch from Life

Last night I had an enjoyable time at painting night with some old friends.  I’m ashamed to admit this is the first head from life in a long while.  And my rustiness shows in the amount of time that it took to finish this—about two hours.  However, the sketch turned out really well.

After arriving late, I slapped in some face and hair color in the general shape of our models upper face.  We took a break before I could get very far, but that interruption allowed my working method to stand out.  This is generally how I start my paintings.

After I got the rest of the face blocked in, I resized the face to crop it for an interesting composition.  By this time in the painting process, I should have recorded all of my major lights and darks and have determined my color scheme.  All that’s left is to define and refine….

My painting is in the midst of the “ugly stage.”  I have just enough of the major features to recognize what it is, but not enough refinement to acknowledge any artistic accomplishment.

By this stage, the painting is refined.  I could stop here, but the likeness is too far from the model for my comfort.

I moved her jaw and left eye closer to the left margin of the picture.  Also the colors of the face were updated.

At this point, the painting was finished, for the most part.  So I isolated the remaining details that needed to brought closer to a decent level of finish, and step by step finished each little area.  It wasn’t until I reached this point that I could see some of the features that resembled her sister.

So, just before I uploaded this, I finished it off with some color adjustment in Photoshop.  The painting now has a fine art quality that I like.

So that was the painting night.  I had a lot of good conversation and got the privilege to paint a beautiful painting.  Maybe calling it a present from God is too presumptuous, but maybe not.  Even the air we breathe and our ability to converse are precious gifts from God’s gracious longsuffering hand.  We often take His simple blessings with scarcely a nod.  So, I’m thankful of His hand of blessing and grace last night.

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