As you probably have guessed, I LOVE painting portraits. Really, the only style of portraiture that I've grasped is Suzanna Winton's style. I took only one of her classes last fall at the Art of the Carolinas and I've been practicing her techniques ever since.
HOWEVER...I've been feeling that my portraits have needed some more "artsy" personality and that I needn't be so afraid of letting a brush stroke show. SO, I searched around and found a lovely portrait artist, Pam Shank, right here in Raleigh at Artspace, who was willing to give me some lessons. I took one class from her and WOW, what a difference.
So, here are the changes and challenges. With Winton's technique for skin tones, you lay on a wet wash of New Gamboge yellow and while it's still wet, quickly paint the Opera Rose over the whole face, whites of the eyes, etc. Let that dry and then start strengthening your shadow areas, etc, adding French Ultramarine blue and Alizarin Crimson for the shadows towards the end. It makes for a very smooth, even style of portraiture (which I like)
While the skin tones are very smooth in their transition, I've been wanting to explore other techniques in skin tones. What I learned from Pam's demonstrations last week is that she doesn't lay down an entire wash, she starts on one side of the face and slowly works her way around, changing colors and tones according to the changing colors that are on her subject's face. (cool, warm, etc)
So, with her technique (which was very hard for me at first and I still haven't grasped yet) this was my first attempt:
As you can see, there's much more definition to the face and more depth. It also seemed as if it was easier to capture the exact personality better with this style of painting. I admit, I was REALLY hard for me to leave brush strokes and texture on the painting, but I'm glad that I did.
So, here was my second try....and I've painted this child before. She has such an exuberant smile that I can't help but like this image of her. First of all, here's a portrait I did of her over a year ago:
AND, here's the second one after learning the new techniques:
The flash kind of washes out the picture, but you get the point....Last night at First Friday, it was SO amazing seeing all of the art downtown. Some artists were wonderfully talented and some were....ummm.....not sure of what they were doing...lol
So, I hope to keep learning in this area. I know it's going to be a process, but anything worth doing well isn't going to be easy. Never EVER believe advertisements that try to sell you some crazy technique to "learn how to paint portraits in a day" or "become a master artist in 3 easy steps". I'm sorry to tell you that this things are marketing gimmicks. Becoming an artist and mastering your medium will take time, practice, patience and years of experience, studying and learning.
Keep moving forward and keep those brushes wet! :)
I'm a wife and mother of four kids. I homeschool, paint, run, and garden! I am always interested in digging truths out of Scripture. Here, you'll find my thoughts on art, adoption, gardening, mothering, homeschooling, books and whatever else is on my mind. Enjoy!
Creativity doesn't exist in a vacuum - like skepticism, it's a means, not an end. It cries out for a theme. To treat creativity as an end in itself is to assume godlike character for humans as though they could create ex nihilo. -J. Cheane