Saturday, May 28, 2011

Portrait Marathon: Nikki graduates from Rehab

Getting there!!

After the rough start, Nikki's portrait languished a bit while I recovered from the trauma, and did some other work.  She gazed back at me vaguely as I passed her throughout the day, patiently or not, she would not say.  Yesterday finally turned out to be her day.  The big graphics I had all ready to send to the printer a few days ago had been re-designed in a vertical format for a different printer, and successfully uploaded (always a moment of fear and trembling to commit and click on the "print" button!)  There was no more reason to delay.

This is where I left off a few days ago.  The general shapes are established, with a light hand.  I got right into it with some Payne's Grey, to really set in the darker values and details.  I never use black in my paintings.  Black paint is very deadening.  There's little or no nuance to it.  I prefer to use Payne's or Ultramarine, or to mix various darks, like burnt umber and ultramarine blue and/or thalo blue, to get deep, lively darks which can represent all the colors that exists in real life, hiding in shadows.  You might not see them all consciously, but their subtleties of warmth or coolness, their complicated juxtaposition of tiny particles of colors playing off each other deep in your brain, keep the image alive.

Where was I before that little love note?

Oh, right.  So, I went in with my beloved Payne's grey, layering up the darks, poking around into the shadows in her (oh my gawrsh!) complicated ears, picking out tine hairs around her eyes, defining her pupils and her beautifully outlined eyes.  I went at her brindling very tentatively at first, establishing the pattern before going back with any detail on her head.  Her nose has been pretty well layered up.  I washed in more color in her brindled zones, added pale washes of blue to further define the planes of her face, and let both blue and raw sienna color and shade her throat to give her both warm life, and cool shading there.

I added the green leafy swirls to give her a decorative and whimsical background.  It's a very sunny day color combination, which I just noticed exactly reflects the jar of buttercups on my desk!  I like how it compliments her bright sophistication.

Overall, she's ready for the barest washes of color, and the tiny highlights that will bring the portrait to life.  Stay tuned!

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