Thursday, 22 August 2013

Chief Washington

After the mixed - very mixed - response to my Beaver Tail portrait I thought I'd try another this week. The subject is Chief Washington of the Coquilles, who took part in the Rogue River War in the Pacific Northwest. The guide photo shows him with a very bitter expression. I suspect it was taken against his will while in captivity. When I `googled' him all I got was a reference to a `Chief Seattle', who was obviously a different person, but referring to a book called  `Indian Wars of the Pacific Northwest' by Ray Glassley, there were two short references. Before starting our AVA leader Yvonne suggested I try to impart more colour into my Indian portraits rather than copy the rather dull sepia monotones of these original photographs which she thought were inclining to look `dirty'. Yvonne suggested I find some colour photographs of Amerindians so I get a better idea of the skin colours. My friend Hap always says mine are not dark enough. In view of the comments I've had I thought it worthwhile to show the guide photo - very, very dark. 





Chief Washington 16" x 12" Fabriano Artistico Extra White  300gsm not

I think you can  easily see the colours I've introduced, if you compare it with the previous portrait, which include brighter yellows and Quinacridone Burnt Orange (Daniel Smith PO48). I also used more Cadmium Red mixed with a little Raw Umber for the skin tones, Cerulean or Cobalt Blue to darken , and Translucent Brown (Schminke PBr41). The hair is various mixes of Ultramarine Blue with either Translucent Brown or Burnt Sienna. It is on the rough side but I persist in my creed of `being cruder' espoused by Charles Reid. This will make the perfectionists blanch  but I will keep trying if still some way from producing work I am completely happy with. My wife took one look at it and said she preferred the previous one! This was very much experimental and I shall have to ponder how to approach the next one.

Brushes used were the Isabey retractable Size 6 for the facial detail and the Escoda sizes 8 and 10 Kolinsky retractables for the rest.


10 comments:

Anonymous said...

The only interesting thing in a picture - in my humble opinion - is the contrast and the color is just the way to achieve it. So - maybe - it would be helpful to do a sepia portrait to get the values and afterwards a coloured one? The outer wrinkles of the mouth are normally as dark as the ones around the eyes ( the vocabulary may be wrong but i hope you get the thought - it may be more obvious when you start with a b/w image.

Peter Ward said...

I don't normally respond to `anonymous' posts. I'm happy for you to do so but please in future give your name. Thank you for your comments.

L.W.Roth, said...

I really like the spontinaiety of this portrait of Chief Washington, whether the painting was or wasn't.
You have a very good likeness here. I looked him up too. Chief Seattle was what came up--maybe he's also called Chief Washington because he was born in the state of Washinton?

Oscar Solis said...

These are just my thoughts so please take them with as just that.

In thinking about this painting and the last one, I am wondering if it needed a stronger drawing foundation. This is not to say that you do not provide a good foundation. Having seen your past work, I see that you do, but I think in the case of the faces that, for now, more time needs to be spent on the actual drawing construction. I say this from experience, having gone through too many sheets of paper in a rush to get to the painting. I've learned, at least in my case, that patience has to be the key. Good construction as far as starting with a drawing is always a good foundation for the painting.

Anyhow, as I said, it's just my two cents.

Peter Ward said...

Thanks for commenting Linda. They were definitely two different persons as I've photographs of them. I tried to paint this in a slightly different way and I think it partially succeeded.

Peter Ward said...

Thanks for comments Oscar. I did actually take a good deal of care in drawing this one. I completed the drawing as a separate exercise the previous day using a ruler to get the various measurements and spacings right. The drawing looked okay to me but I do follow Charles Reid in this and try not to overdraw as there can be a tendency to `fill in'. I think I made one mistake in that his face and chin were more pointed than I've depicted. I'll put the original photo up so you can see. The other problem is lack of detail due to the very dark areas on these old photographs.

Brenda George said...

I think you have handled this portrait very well, my only observation would be that the dark areas on the face by the cheekbones and the eyebrows need to be much darker

Peter Ward said...

Thanks for commenting Brenda. Possibly you are right. It's difficult to know when to stop. I
I think I may have another crack at this one.

Yvonne Harry said...

I think I like the use of colour a lot more than the previous portrait which was a bit depressing for me. I do think, however,, that this time the likeness not as strong as you usually achieve. It is really interesting to see what colours you use for the skin tones. Thanks for sharing that info....although I never paint people as you well know!

Peter Ward said...

Interesting isn't it Yvonne. When I make a bit of a mess I get more comments! I've looked anew at this portrait and it is fairly close to him but I think I've got the angle of the planes of the face not quite right and this has affected the overall perspective. I intend to have another shot and see how I can improve things based on the several suggestions that have been made. The colours I used here were partly experimental and differed from my normal mixes which are based on those used by Charles Reid. Unfortunately they are too light for Amerindians.