Monday, August 28, 2006

progress report on portrait painting - step 2


(Click Here to go back to first post.)
Time for round two. All set to begin. (Tea at the ready - a safe distance from the turps). I mixed cobalt blue, burnt sienna , a touch of ivory black and flake white. I have 9 values 10 if I count black.
This painting is full of firsts for me. It's the first time I've ever tried two people in a single portrait, the first time I'm trying this technique(underpainting with cool grays) and the first time I have pre-mixed so much paint. First time doing it in front of people (OK, so it's only those reading this blog), but you still are people.

Painting is all about making decisions and following through with action. My first decision - was not to follow through and do a full value charcoal drawing. (It was more of a reaction really - so does that count as a decision?) I was too impatient and decided to jump right into painting. I sprayed the drawing with fixative and gave it a light wash to kill the white of the canvas.
A start with the major darks.
I tried to keep the shadow side of her face transparent. Even though it is the same value as the background, just touches with the neutral gray. You can begin to see the rough lay in of the values. I don't want to blend the paint at this point just make a patchwork of values. The thickest paint will end up being where the light is.(second big decision - I am making this technique up as I go along)

Painting is made up of hundreds of dangerous decisions. I pray one of the benefits I will eventually get from daily painting practice will be improved technique. Practice won't eliminate those hundreds of decisions, but it should make most of them second nature. I think this is because your brain starts to remember the repetitive decisions. When this happens your artistic or creative mind should have more freedom to interpret emotion.
Ahh,Freedom... That only means more choices, doesn't it? Vicious cycle.

6 comments:

J Matt Miller said...

Peter, you are brave man! I look forward to following this portrait.

Louis Boileau said...

Hey Peter! Great stuff...this painting is coming along beautifully. Thanks for the progress reports. I love the way you explain all your thought processes and your self critiques. Some great artist from the past once said "A good painting could be called finished at any stage."...this qualifies. But...I'm not suggesting that you stop here.

Lisa said...

I love to watch your progress. I'd say you are on your way to a great portrait painting. Nice job so far.

John Haynes said...

Peter -- I think this is a great start. And you're so right about decisions, the more I think about it the more I convinced that good painting is largely good decision making. But as the old saw goes, the only way you can learn to make good decisions is through experience, and the only way to get experience is to make lots of bad decisions ;-)

the gringa in the painting said...

da Papa,

I love it! Even though you're only sketching it out right now, it really is starting to take on the feeling of Marcelo and me. Also, I was browsing your website and blog online and everyone started crowding my desk to see. I gave away both addresses to a few of them. They really thought your work was amazing! (of course I already knew that).

Anonymous said...

peter
progress going great. Your fellow bloggers make some interesting comments, nice bunch.
len