Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Mother & daughter 2 (& demo shots)

In a new book I have bought about 'how to be a demon oil painter in 5 easy steps with hardly any work at all and no talent' (or words to that effect)  it required me to start every painting with the masses. Only the masses - NO LINES. I was sincerely going to try this but for the life of me I do not know how to paint a close-up like this on a small scale with zero lines. It's all very well if you are painting landscapes: it doesn't matter if the tree is a bit off to the left and one of the branches tilts up instead of down - but it matters like mad if what you are painting is someone's eyes. So I drew some lines:
freehand, in pencil, on a board which was sort-of toned because I am recycling the first version of this painting which was a wiper. Then I started work on the eyes: the book sternly says to start with the darkest darks and the lightest lights but I decided that the pupils of the eyes fitted that criterion
Then it was a question of building up the fur and trying to overcome too much cutsiness. I am not sure I have entirely succeeded but I put a final glaze of raw umber over most of the painting when it was dry, which added some green-ish, cool-ish notes into the shadows and I think that knocked back the cutsey element a bit.

In fairness to the author of my new book, my struggles with lines over mass are a sign of how much I have to learn. Richard Schmid has a demo of a portrait of his wife Nancy (where the positioning of eyes is also very important!) here:
artists networks and his painting starts like this:
and finishes like this:
Isn't it beautiful? Richard Schmid is my hero.

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