The Red Scarf
Oil Painting Demonstration
Coming around the corner I was struck
by the natural pose and backlighting. I happened to
have a camera and requested she hold right there. Several shots were
taken at the 1mb
setting and this first one seemed to have the most promise. The
resolution was increased
in PaintShop Pro which helped, but it still was not a professional quality
photo. A lot of
very good artists would not attempt a portrait with anything less than first
photos. As a general rule that is the right attitude. In this
case I've known the model a long
time and think I can break that rule successfully. We'll see.
I have prepared a plastered panel 48"
x 24" and given it two or three coats of acrylic gesso tinted yellow.
I'm starting this with acrylic paint and will switch to oils in the final
stages. In each painting I try to explore
a new idea or technique. As part of my on-going professional studies
program I recently read a great
book called The Yin/Yang of Painting by Hongnian Zhang. He uses one of
three palettes of color:
red/green, blue/orange or yellow/purple. For this I will use the
red/green palette because of the red scarf.
I will have a spectrum or true red and green, plus a warm and a cool version
of each and black and white.
All the colors in the painting will be mixed from these few and will as a
result have a family resemblance.
Does that mean there will be no blues, for example? Actually a
grey-blue can be mixed using
the cool red and the cool green. The red and green will grey one
another allowing the blue that each has
to show once mixed with white.
After careful cropping and composing
the major outlines are transferred to the panel. The wash in is done
with my first attempt at mixing the colors I'm looking for and a fair amount
of water. I want to cover the
panel and see how these colors relate to each other. I'm also
abstracting the background to focus attention
on the figure and her face. This palette is new to me and I'm finding
it is a little tricky to produce the beautiful
grays, but I'm learning fast.
Now I'm able to see all the proposed
colors and judge how well they are working together. On this second
pass all colors and values are adjusted as are the shapes of each area.
Much closer this time.
I'm far enough that I need to focus on
the face and the areas next to the face since that is what this painting
is about. I realize the face is too light to appear backlit, so I make
it darker. Once the focal point is right
the rest of the painting can be adjusted to be subordinate, but supporting.
I like the values and color
relationships generally. I've taken the face about as far as I care to
in acrylic so it's time to
switch to oils for the final adjustments and corrections.