Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Haley Step by Step

Here is a step by step of a portrait I am working on of my niece. I have not had any formal art classes so this is based on things I am learning from reading and watching artists on-line such as Susan Carlin, Stapleton Kearns, Debra Bryant, Karin Wells , James Gurney's book Color and Light, Chris Saper's book Painting Beautiful Skin Tones with Color and Light and many others. I have spent 2010 trying to improve my painting skills.

I started on this portrait of Haley with a good charcoal sketch. I have learned that charcoal works much better under oil paints. Graphite will bleed through the oils. To keep the charcoal from lifting I added a matte seal with spray varnish. In the past I have dusted the sketch lightly but too often it gets so light that I can't see the lines clearly.

I spent considerable time mixing various skin tones both in color and value trying to match them as closely as possible to the reference photo. Above I started putting down basic colors. I started with the eyes. Eyes are hard for me. They are so integrel to getting a good likeness.

Here I have blocked in the hair. I've learned to not try and paint each strand. I've also used a glaze of light pink skin tone to blend all of the colors on her face.

Here I have blocked in the outfit. I will add highlights later.

Here I have added the background. I chose black to make her face the center of attention. Next I will start doing the many touch-ups. I will let this set for a while so what I have will tack up making it easier to add new things without making mud. I notice that she does not have enough contrast from light to dark in her face. I will work on her teeth, add highlights to her eyes. I will zoom in on each feature and area and add the final touches and adjustments. Hopefully all will go well and I will be happy with the finished portrait. I will post it in the next few days.

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