Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Repainting a Mouth

Portrait - In Progress IV
Oil on Canvas, 6" sq., c. Catherine Vines
I blogged yesterday about the problems when I get my measurements off.
Today you see the results.
This is when I am envious of those who complete a daily painting. I find it so hard to walk away, to see it as a lesson learned for the next painting.
I suppose it comes down to loving the painting process more than the completed product.

Monday, May 30, 2011

How Much Should I Draw First?

Portrait In Progress III
Oil on Canvas, 6" sq., c. Catherine Vines
I was a little intimidated by this pose, so I did more drawing than usual before I started painting. As a result, I trusted my marks rather than constantly checking my proportions.
It resulted in a wonderful likeness from the bottom of the nose up. Then everything got scrunched, for want of a more technical term.
My work here is not through!

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Using a Cool Base for Flesh Tones

Portrait - In Progress, Stage II
Oil on Canvas, 6" sq., c. Catherine Vines
It's interesting that the warmer colors photograph much more intensely that the cooler ones.
In general I seem to prefer the warmer palette I mixed for flesh tones. But there is a delicacy to these colors that fits a young girl's skin.
The hair color is turning out to be the most challenging: finding blond tones that work with these flesh tones. I resorted to using a combination of yellow and purple from the skin tones palette.  Now for the adjustments.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Creating Fleshtones

Portrait - In Progress
Oil on Canvas, 6" sq., c. Catherine Vines
This is the portrait I am building around yesterday's palette.
To backtrack: Using the method outlined in Suzanne Brooker's book, "Portrait Painting Atelier," I started with a large pile of Rembrandt's version of Alizarin Crimson, Permanent Madder Medium, mixed to a value of 5-6.
I then combined that with Yellow Ochre Light and Titanium/Flake White in varying proportions, and separately with Naples Yellow and Titanium/Flake White, again in varying proportions.
I also used some Ultramarine Violet combinations for shadows.
All these colors were in midtone ranges.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Using Glass Palettes

"Mixing Flesh Tones"

I prefer to use glass for my palette, though it is not without problems.
When mixing up my colors, I set the glass on a white paper towel (very high-tech), though I am thinking about switching to a medium grey, since my midtones have a tendency to be too light.
At the end of a painting session, I put the palette in the refrigerator, covered by "Press'nSeal" until the next time. This works great; in fact, I came home from 10 days in WV to still fresh paint.  Until I broke the palette. (Reminder, cold glass is very fragile.)
I buy old frames at yard sales, cut down the frames to reuse, and save the glass for palettes. If necessary, I will also cut down the glass, but the cut edges need to be taped; they're sharp!
Theoretically I could clean off the glass, but usually I dump it in an old pizza box when the paint is gone. 

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Using Liquid on the Surface

Oil on Canvas, 6" sq., c. Catherine Vines
She's very beautiful, isn't she?
I found my red palette worked for this painting, but in the end I seemed to prefer blues for the shadows. And they worked beautifully with her hair tones.
Because this painting had sat for almost 10 days before I could return to it, I tried something I had only read about: I put a layer of Liquin over the surface and then resumed painting. It worked beautifully, though left me confused about the 'fat over lean' concept. I am so sorry I can't give credit for the idea.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Painting Cats

"Mr. Fierce"
Oil on Canvas, 6" sq., c. Catherine Vines
Even the neighborhood kids think this cat is scary. I can't argue, because he really is.
I really wanted to paint a cat for the Daily Paintworks Challenge, especially after being around my aunt's cat all this time.  But this time sickness prevailed.
I haven't even been able to check out the new challenge!
I am sitting in my uncle's bedroom with my laptop on the window sill and trying to piggyback on the neighbor's wireless - with her permission. Between the mountains and the rural life, the internet is a challenge unto itself.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Real Faces Don't Have Blue Splotches

"My Favorite Critic"
Acrylic on Masonite,  5x7," c. Catherine Vines
This is a palette-knife painting, done ala prima.  In spite of its resemblance to the sitter, he complains about the colors in the face. Especially the blue. Go figure.
Over the years we have discovered many differences in our artistic sensibilities. 
He prefers symmetry; me, not at all. 
He prefers realistic colors; you know where I stand on that one. 
He prefers landscapes; while occasionally I would like to be able to paint one, they don't hold the fascination of faces.
But I still prefer him. Go figure.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Creative Coloring in Portraits

Acrylic on Paper, 16x20," c. Catherine Vines
This is a friend from the Seattle area. Josey is a painter in her own right and well as a genius at selecting matting and framing to best portray a painting. 
While the painting looks like her, it fails to show her lovely smile.
I wonder why I am so much more creative with colors when I am using acrylics. I love the feel (and even smell) of oil paints, but would like to expand my color range within a painting.
Practice. Practice. Practice.

Friday, May 20, 2011

On Painting Ears

Acrylic on Paper, 8x24," c. Catherine Vines
I certainly don't have any advice to give, just a reminder to myself that here's something else I need to practice. 
Although I can see that this painting needs work, I won't pursue it. It's an old one and right for where I was at the time.
My favorite part is the coloring, especially the white, although I couldn't tell you why.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Red and Pink Don't Go Together

"Self-Portrait - Age 8-9"
Acrylic on Paper, 16x24," c. Catherine Vines
Though not much of it shows in this painting, I am wearing my favorite pink dress.  A favorite especially since, as a redhead, I was not normally allowed to wear pink. I even remember the design on the dress!
Maybe I should have just painted it.
I still love to wear pink - and - horrror of horrors - even red.  Of course my hair has considerably faded.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

A Monochromatic Portrait

"Sundown Joe"
Acrylic on Paper, 18 x 24," c. Catherine Vines
This is Butch's favorite portrait, which is weird because he hates unusual color in my portraits.
Again, in retrospect, the more or less monochromatic coloring seems a little predictable  to me now. I do love red though. And blue. And, well, every color except green.
That could go a long way to explaining my weakness with landscapes.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Using Unusual Colors for Portraits

Acrylic on Paper, 16x20," c. Catherine Vines

Experimental coloring, what else can I say?
To use so much pink and rose, the cool shadows give the face a harsh look not at all in keeping with my daughter's visage.
Still, the subject is a great one: and playing is always fun.

Monday, May 16, 2011

A Mixed Media Portrait

"Mom and Her Favorite Chair"
Mixed Media on Masonite, 16 x 20," c. Catherine Vines
This painting is done with acrylics over a collage of letters and envelopes from my mother to me. She loved this Victorian chair and would sit there and work on her quilts.
I can see now that the chair is too important and distracts from the face, but it has taken some time to get that perspective.
Quite a difference from the flesh tones I have been working on the last few days! 
Over the next few days I will be posting some older paintings while I am visit my aunt in WV. She is Mother's baby sister, the last of her siblings, and very dear.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Breathing Life into a Painting

"Portrait - In Progress IV"
Oil on Canvas, 6"sq., c. Catherine Vines
I can't get over how fascinating the process of painting a face can be. The marvel of trying to turn a flat, two-dimensional square into a living, breathing individual human being continually amazes me.  Especially when I start to see the first signs of life.
Today's goal is to concentrate on the eyes and eyebrows.
Today's posting veers toward the red side - now there's a mystery.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Monitor Colors

"Portrait - In Progress III"
 Oil on Canvas, 6" sq., c. Catherine Vines
On my screen (I have a Mac which is supposed to be brighter), this coloring is about spot on.  But I checked out my posting on my ITouch and the colors were different, even though also an Apple product.
How it appears on a PC...?
By spot on, I don't mean the colors are perfect for a portrait, but that they are true to the painted image.
More than the color though, I am concerned about losing the freshness by working over the painting so much. 
And this isn't even the portrait I mean to paint; this one was intended to be a test case for my flesh tones palette!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Strategies for Mixing Flesh Tones

"A Midvalue Mixture Based on Grumbacher Red Light"
Oil Paints on Glass Palette
I am experimenting with mixing flesh tones using Suzanne Brooker's strategy from her book, "Portrait Painting Atelier."
I decided to start with my usual red for flesh tones, Grumbacher Red Light.  
The center left shows the Red Light in its pure form, then lightened with a combination of Titanium White and Zinc White to create a medium value in the big pile in the center.  All subsequent mixtures are made from this center pile combined with other colors.
Directly to the right you can see Yellow Ochre Light in its pure form. Straight above the Ochre and to its left are the combinations of the Red Light pile and Ochre with varying amounts of white.
The bottom right corner combines the Red Light pile and Naples Yellow.
Bottom left combines the Red Light pile and Green Umber.
Top left is the Red Light pile plus Raw Umber. (Missing is the pure form of Raw Umber.)
I was disappointed that I didn't get a greater variety of midtones.  I decided the Naples Yellow combination was too orange, though the lightest mixture was lovely. And I would like to try the Green Umber using more green.
Next time I intend to try terra rosa in the center.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

At Last! Hair!

"Portrait - In Progress"
Oil on canvas, 6"sq., c. Catherine Vines
Well, sorta. But I have plans.
This grainy photo - for reasons I don't understand although I'm guessing low light - is my first pass on this portrait. 
Don't even ask me about the mouth.
I did learn - for about the 1000th time - I like to paint bigger.
I have neglected painting for my new book, "Portrait Painting Atelier" by Suzanne Brooker. I am especially inspired by the section on "Creating a Color Recipe Book" where you make charts doing color recipe exercises. It fits perfectly in my color studies.

Monday, May 9, 2011

From Bold to Fierce

"Self-Portrait from Side"
Acrylic on Paper, 16x24," c. Catherine Vines
Okay. Maybe this one is a little weird.
And check out that ear. It's got me thinking I could spend some time just painting ears. Now I can see that in addition to its rather overwhelming presence, the ear fails to lie flat against the head. (I promise you, mine does.)
I'm also thinking I may have ventured from Bold to Fierce!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Bald is Beautiful!

"Self-Portrait w/ Sunglasses"
Acrylic on Paper, 16x24," c. Catherine Vines
I did say there were other self-portraits where I am bald!
Obviously something was going on.
But in the end, it's all about painting. That having been said, I still have my doubts about making a switch from acrylics to oil paints.
Happy Mother's Day everyone. I hope you can share it with your loved ones.

Friday, May 6, 2011

How's This for a Background?

"Self-Portrait w/ Sunglass"
Acrylic on paper, 16x24," c. Catherine Vines
I have a whole series of self-portraits (at least three or four) where I am bald.
Years of therapy will probably answer this. (I think it might have to do with vulnerability?)
Just in case you are creeped out, I am working on a more conventional portrait I hope to have finished for tomorrow's posting.
I do like the division of space in this one. And it is Bold.


Thursday, May 5, 2011

I Had No Nostrils...

"Self-Portrait w/ Glasses"
Oil on Canvas, 8x10," c. Catherine Vines
"Self-Portrait w/ Glasses"
Oil on Canvas, 8x10," c. Catherine Vines
... When I got ready to post this morning!
So this ala prima attempt actually took three passes.
And it has not escaped my attention that my glasses do not actually sit on my nose. What about that nose anyway? Doesn't it have a distinct slant to the right? 
This business of being bold is not easy.
As Scarlett says, "Tomorrow is another day." Maybe she should be saying, "Practice, practice, practice."

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Confidence is a Slippery Slope

"Self-Portrait: In Progress"
Oil on Canvas, 8 x 10," c. Catherine Vines
Yesterday I was riding high. Full of myself, you could say. Nothing like a good day of painting to do that for me.
Then I showed my self-portrait to my neighbor, who thought I didn't put enough work into it.
I think I am so beyond that kind of vulnerability. Hah!
Today I can't paint a nose to save myself.  Hence, the "in progress" tag.
As Scarlet O'Hara says, "Tomorrow is another day." Even better, "I will return!"

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

I Have to Ask...

"Self-Portrait, 5/11"
Oil on Canvas, 9 x 8," c. Catherine Vines
... Why am I painting plums when I love painting faces so much?
Faces are endlessly fascinating to me: how we can all have the same basic features and yet be so different.
Although this is from a photograph taken yesterday for the Daily Paintworks Challenge, I seem to have painted a younger, more hopeful version of myself. I can only conclude this is a true reflection of my inner self!
My new motto: "Less Fruit! More Faces!"

Monday, May 2, 2011

And Then There Was One

"And Then There Was One"
Oil on Canvas, 10 x 8," c. Catherine Vines
I learned a lot from painting this, but mainly:
No matter how many times you tell yourself, "It's just a ball. I can paint a ball standing on my head!" it's just not true. 
Oh, I can paint the ball. But the wrinkles and dents - that's another story. 
The real education for me is the reminder - once again - that I get stubborn and lost in the details and forget that my goal is not realism.