I picked up my painting at Opus Langley this weekend and took photos of the piece. After not seeing it for a week I can be a little more objective towards it. I had an interesting response to it as my memory of it was that it was more lively and brighter then I found it. I did however get back to liking it after editing the photo to post here and making sure the photo matched the painting.
The day had been grey and I painted it to maintain a subtly of colour and develop the warm and cool aspects to work off each other. This had been my main objective of the painting so when I remembered it as being much brighter this may have been the trick of painting it outdoors then bringing it inside, the paintings never look quite as bright. In this case I didn't try to push the saturation of the hues but tried to capture them and values as I saw them and played with the alternating warm and tool tones. I had thought it wouldn't jump out after I brought it inside and I also didn't think it had a chance of winning anything. The staff had said that there had been a lot of positive feedback so this makes me feel pretty good and I'm still very thrilled to have won.
Yesterday, Michael King and I went back to Langley to paint a spot that was outside the boundaries of the Opus challenge we were both on the weekend before. I had found this very cool spot and wanted to go back. The buildings looked to me from another time. Historical corners like this are getting harder to find. I'm not used to painting buildings and the straight lines and perspective kept challenging me. I may have also lost my focus on what I most liked about this spot as I struggled to capture everything as it appeared instead of the shapes, I was painting buildings.
I did think though that my drawing skills are getting a little better after working daily on portraits.
Thank you Michael for taking me back there.
Opus Outdoor Painting Challenge 2014, my third year doing this challenge and 3rd time lucky. I'm very thrilled to have won 1st price in the Langley area challenge.
The day started with some drizzle and I moved back under a tree which changed my original approach to this scene. I wanted to do a portrait of the tree but give the water a lot of interest. Instead the tree and it's subtle mossy colours became my focus.
I didn't get a final photo of my painting and it will be at Opus Langley on display for a week. The photos here show the painting about 3/4s done. I was pretty pleased with my piece and felt I had captured this lovely old tree.
Working from Life
For two days now I have had friends come and sit for me. So much better then working from the photos. Yesterday I worked on getting a study done for colours mainly. Today I am getting close to finishing a portrait that I've been going back to regularly. Having my friend to sit was a great help. I'm sure it will take little now to complete the portrait. I volunteered to sit tonight for a group to paint my portrait and it was very interesting having the opportunity to listen to someone teach portraiture. I found it very informative and learned a new way to approach the portrait after the first drawing stage with the first painting stage was using the lights and darks only. I have not been doing this with just those two piles mixed up, I've been making more then two. I'm sure there are as many techniques as artists painting though. Also as I keep saying over and over I've been attempting to get plane shapes first and will carry on with this approach and add this new idea of seeing the main shadow and lights, once I have the the planes well worked out. Since I draw them first anyways this will help me see how the light falls across them. I will probably go back to a drawing stage again then I go into the darks, then the middle values and finally the lights for the next painting stage. This is a little different then what I've been doing as I've been scumbling in the temperatures and hues I've been seeing but these large flat shapes are probably the best way to go. When I did this small colour sketch I was all over the map with my progression and steps. I did notice that as my friend was working on my portrait she was first searching out the planes and that gave her a good foundation to work from. I was glad to see she gleaned something from my nattering at her for two hours. It was great practice for me to talk it through also.
Quick Portrait Colour Sketch
Had a friend join me and sit for a couple of hours. This is part of my next step to try and get more face to face time instead of working first from photos then have my model sit for me. I'm switching this up by trying to have a sitting first then proceed larger with the photo and quick a the colour study.
Here I was finding the overall shape of the head some measuring and placement of features but mostly finding planes. The first preliminary drawing with the first painted drawing stage on top.
I had done this in a smaller book and with having a secondary light source I found it a little difficult to get the values correct. Started with 3 piles-a light flesh tone mixture, shadow tone and mixed transitional tones which I varied from warm and cool depending on which side of the face this was on. Since I was trying to be quick with this session I managed mostly with following what I was seeing but got a bit lost with warm and cool aspects having the secondary light source plus finding it hard to see the temperatures and I wasn't sure of the theory and how it should be applied. Back to my studies for that.
I started this painting on a cheap canvasboard. The charcoal wouldn't even wipe off, this is the painted line stage over top of the of my preliminary drawing. I probably could have skipped this and gone straight to scumbling in the planes. Searching out the planes first has been my beginning step.
I have worked on this portrait but forgot to take photos of the earlier stages. Fighting with this awful surface. I think I'll make sure it's well dried and oilout the next sessions on this piece.