I'm hoping to do this every week. We'll see how it goes!
Second painting night of the year: We had an excellent model, but I was struggling to get his face, and you will see that. I never really got his face until the very end. I’ll explain why I think that happened as I go along.
First of all, I think it started with the hat. The hat stood out as a strong element on the model, so I painted it first. I probably should have started with the eyes and nose portion of the face.
This forced me to work from the outer proportions inside and make the inside fit the outside. To do that I really had to nail the outer proportions . . . and I didn’t.
I squished the face horizontally, and so I fixed that here and went on to lay in more value. However, the face was too large in the head, and I didn’t realize that yet.
The most significant difference between this step and the last one is his left ear. I lowered it slightly. In the midst of painting the artist is constantly checking the proportions and alignments of all the features in relation to the whole picture and to each other. Sometimes it can be very complex to isolate one problem in the middle of a cacophony of problems.
In this step I just piled on a bunch of value.
Here I refined the beard and the eyes. After doing that, I realized two things about my painting: First, the face was too big for the head, as I’ve mentioned before. Second, his eyes looked slightly wall-eyed and that bothered me.
Here I fixed the face by squishing it up into the head. Right now it looks strange, but in later steps it should all make sense.
Finally, I decided to compose my painting. I felt that positioning his head slightly toward the left side of the painting would eventually create a dynamic composition after I introduced the color and finished the painting.
Also, I obliterating some of the detail work in the eyes and mouth. This will prepare for better detail later.
At this point I am finally satisfied with the general proportions of the face. The eye sockets take up the right amount of space. The mouth is in correct proportion to the mandible.
On the foundation of a strong value painting, color can happen very fast. Since I had been working transparently over the background, I could paint the warm light underneath the face. The warm shadows I painted over the face and then I crunched the layers together.
With the cool and warm light dynamic happening, I felt comfortable painting the eyes again.
I solidified light play over the flesh and worked on the mouth.
My fellow artist were finished and I was dawdling on. So I laid in as many final details as possible. The mouth finally looked the way I wanted it to look. So I called it quits.
This morning I revisited the painting, added value to the background and played with the levels, hue and saturation. I wish I could change the hat and the shirt, but I’m leaving it the way it is. At some point the artist must stop, and that point is happening . . . now.