Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Bath College Portrait Course Week 8 - 6 March 2012

This week the subject was again Sarah wearing her hat.


This is the angle from where I sat, roughly ten feet away. This was the closest  practical distance, bearing in mind the need to avoid blocking out others. One problem arose, in the first hour session, in that the Sun shone through a window into my eyes.  This wasn't such a problem in the second session as it had moved. Nevertheless I ploughed on, first studying the subject in detail before committing pencil to paper. I tried to measure up accurately using a pencil with arm rigidly held straight out. This isn't easy and proved difficult partly due to the distance from the model. I have been consulting  Bert Dodson's book `Keys To Drawing' (North Light 1985, paperback edition 1990). Charles Reid considers this the best book on drawing, a large claim considering the dozens available.  Having a selection of these books, many of which are valuable, I am inclined to agree in that it is far, far easier to digest in practical terms. It has a very good section on taking proportions. It is still available at a reasonable price from online booksellers like Amazon.  

The Drawing with painting begun on the features.



 Sarah - Schut Noblesse 40 x 50cm (15.75" x 19.75")  300gsm (140lb) Not 

Faults notwithstanding this is a much better effort than my painting of a few weeks ago. I have altered the proportions of hat to face compared to the photo. My wife thinks I have made her look a little sad which is probably true looking at the photo. I am reasonably happy  while constantly striving to do better.

Colours for the face and features were Cadmium Red Light or Pale, Cadmium Yellow Light, plus Cerulean Blue to darken, Lamp Black for the upper eyelids and pupil, Cobalt Blue for the Iris. The hat is white overall but much darker in shadow under the brim where I used diluted Cerulean and very light greys by adding Burnt Sienna to the Cerulean. The hair is mainly Raw Umber with some Gold Ochre and Burnt Umber. The reds are Quinacridone Rose (Graham PV19) and Permanent Carmine (W & N PR N/A). The green is Viridian (Rowney). Ultramarine Violet (Rowney PV15) was added to the background colours of Raw Sienna/Raw Umber and Cerulean.

Brushes were the Isabey Size 6 Retractable for the features with the Da Vinci Maestro Size 6 and Artissimo 44 Size 2 for the rest.

I am now into the final two weeks when we are having a new model. Jackie says we can do whatever we wish, paint, draw, use whatever medium. I may do a large drawing next week then another watercolour in the final session. I have decided not to take the follow up five weeks. I am very happy with how the course has progressed but basically now need a break.

9 comments:

Mick Carney said...

I think Jenny is right, your picture makes her look sad. I think the reason is that you have lowered the right hand side of her mouth creating a scowl rather than the subtle, neutral mouth position in your photograph.

Peter Ward said...

That may be Mick but it isn't as simple as that. There are subtle changes that take place in the models position and expression during what is a very long posing session - two separate hours. The photograph was taken at a particular moment in time when she appears to be smiling slightly. Although Jackie picked up a couple of things that wasn't one of them. It isn't easy. Still faults and all....

Anns Art said...

A very good rendition of Sarah - well done. It's nice and clear. I do see what Mike means, but for someone to capture a life model must be so difficult. Not something I would attempt, I admire your determination Peter.

Peter Ward said...

Thanks for commenting Ann. I've explained the difficulties. I think the large projects that I've done, mainly drawing and/or charcoal were easier than trying to render her in watercolour at roughly normal size. I've concluded the real problem is the distance to the model.I have looked again at the painting and altered the mouth a little which partly deals with the criticism of her looking sad.

Anonymous said...

I'll say,Peter,that partly is the mouth,partly the sleeker face(lower part) on the painting and maybe that you were mislead because she have sad looking eyes.It's possible that you tried to convey that look,but focused on the mouth instead of the eyes.Portraiture is complicated,nobody discuss that.But overall you made a nice portrait,is your vision and the strokes of paint are well rendered,with confidence.Keep up with the good work. :)

Robert P. Armas said...

Sorry,the above post is mine,the mouse when over anonymous when trying to hit "publish your comment".My apologies.

Ray Maclachlan said...

Good effort Peter. Models move their mouths all the time and their eyes. It is very difficult to catch a pleasant mouth sharp as a smile alters the cheek shape too. As Sargant said - it's all about the mouth.

Peter Ward said...

Thanks Robert for your comments. It is tough as I've realised. When you look at the paintings in retrospect you can always improve on them.

Peter Ward said...

Thanks Ray. Sargeant made a very important comment. I think the eyes are also key. In this case Sarah's are very dark and difficult to present correctly. I've altered the mouth corner a little and it does make a difference.