Portrait: Head and shoulders

I have booked a model for this exercise; she is a lady I have used before when I was working on Drawing 1 and is an ex catwalk model. Unfortunately she now has a problematic dog and cannot come to my house, so I have to go to her and I am not sure whether to take all my acrylics with me or whether to just do lots of sketches to work from and take some photos. I am also thinking I would like to try and use a pallette knife for this exercise, just to see how this technique would work with skin tones, it would be an interesting challenge.  Have been watching techniques on YouTube.

I have prepared a canvas with a warm, neutral ground. Maybe I can take this and just a couple of colours and paint in the basic shapes to work on. I will see how much I can carry with me and what the weather is doing 😉

It was pouring with rain so  just took my A3 sketchbook, charcoal, ink, pencils and watercolours. This worked out quite well and we worked well together, tried a few poses, including deciding she looked good when smoking a cigarette! (!) The light through from her large window was very good and threw up some very good light and shade. I will look again at them tomorrow and also I have photographed all the poses. I will decide which to use but it has been a good afternoon.

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Next time I think maybe I should just take a few acrylics with me and paint directly into the sketchbook with these….I am thinking #3 with the three quarters profile would work the best. Will start off with the pallette knife and see how it goes. I forgot to say the model was pleased with them, and thought they did look like her but maybe not so pleased with my positioning of the light, which was maybe not so flattering to her, but it does make for a more interesting painting.

Working with the pallette knife has not worked for me in this instance. Well, it is only my second or third go trying to paint with one so won’t be too hard on myself. It is a shame really, as I got quite a good resemblance to the model however I found it hard to blend the colours for the skin tones. The paint is getting thicker as I keep going over it…. I was very pleased with the effects for the hair though, and I am thinking I can maybe I can use these in conjunction with a brush next try.  The other problem is, it is not exactly flattering to the model and if I dare show her something like this she will not want to work with me again! 😮20170318_195246

I have left it, for now, and set up a new canvas and just painted a warm, neutral ground (burnt sienna) which is drying.

I have finished. I painted it over 2 days. It worked well using the same colour as the ground (burnt sienna) I laid down to draw with a brush the outlines and then build up from there. I will definitely try this technique again. Maybe i am getting somewhere with this now. Skin tones were the trickiest, titan buff worked well and I added a little yellow or red at times, and also used raw sienna for the darkest areas, and a little black in places, although I am not convinced this is the true answer to shadows on a (Caucasian) skin tone.  It was hard to work out exactly what to use for these areas, but overall the effect is how I hoped it would be.  With the blonde hair, I added a little paynes grey and this seemed to bring out a good ash blonde colour and I used browns to give warmth to the darker areas and white for the very lightest hairs. I feel the arm positions were tricky and may not be totally accurate! 

My husband and sister have been very enthusiastic about the finished work and with some trepidation I sent a picture to the model, who was extremely happy with it,

‘Wow, it is fantastic, hope you don’t mind but I have sent it to Mum!!! ‘ Made my day… 🙂

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Author: Wendy Kate

Happily sharing my life in Spain with a tall bearded man from Dorset.

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