Monday 2 January 2012

A Hopi Man

To start 2012 here is my latest subject, once more with thanks, from the photo archives of of a Hopi man.

A Hopi Man Circa 1900 (?)

The Hopi are a group of pueblo or village indians who have remained in the same territory occupied when first visited by Coronado's troops in 1540. They speak a Shoshonean dialect and mostly live on high mesas in the arid northeastern  area of Arizona. They are said to have adapted better to modern civilization than many other groups of Amerindians. A very good reference is `American Indians of the Southwest'  by` Bertha P.Dutton (University of New Mexico Press 1903 Revised Ed.1975). There is also plentiful information on the web - just Google `Hopi Indians'.

Hopi Man - Centrenaire 140lb 16" x 12" Not

For this painting I changed my colour combinations  as I wanted a slightly different, more expressive, result. As I've constantly stated my approach is based on Charles Reid's style so super realism is out! For the skin colour I used a combination of Quinacridone Rust (Graham PO48) with touches of Burnt Umber and Cerulean Blue. This was to avoid the `pinkish' colour that so annoys Hap! For the first time I changed my usual Ultramarine/ Burnt Sienna/Burnt Umber combinations for darks and introduced Daniel Smith's Indigo (PB60/PBk6) in the hair. I used this straight, just varying the dilution, but sometimes added small amounts of Burnt Sienna. This can be the darkest dark imaginable but also dilutes down very well. I like this particular colour a lot and it may become a staple on my palette. Note PB60 as usually other makes of Indigo are based on either Prussian Blue (PB27) or Ultramarine (PB29). It is a convenience colour but WOW!! I also like the straight Indanthrone or Indanthrene Blue (PB60), without the black added, but it would be pointless to have both. There is also some Quinacridone Gold (Daniel Smith PO49) in the hair. The shirt has Yellow Ochre and  Raw Umber with touches of Quinacridone Gold, Permanent Carmine (W & N PR N/A),  and Cerulean (W & N PB36). I also mixed small amounts of Prussian Blue (Graham PB27) in the hair.

Brushes were limited to my Isabey Series 6201 Size 6 retractable for the features, with Da Vinci Series 10 Maestro Size 6 and the Isabey Series  6228 Size 8, all Kolinsky sables. Finally I used a Pro Arte Series 3 Sable Size 00 for the tiny dots of white Gouache for the eyes. As I've pointed out before the Isabey retractable is much smaller than a normal Size 6, more like a longer and slimmer 4, but is a lovely brush for detail. Jacksons sell it  and there is also a smaller Size 4. Currently they are out of stock as I've recently ordered another 6 for a member of my AVA art group.

I'm pretty pleased with this one as a start to 2012. As usual I concentrated on the face and head, starting with the eyes, then the nose followed by the lips. The clothing was painted  in a minimal way just to suggest but not stress. In previous portraits I've had some problems wondering how to handle the clothing, especially not knowing the original colours, and in several cases overworked.


hap said...

Happy New Year Peter!! GREAT START!! Best skin tone yet!! And the eyes are so penetrating!! I to use a lot of DS Indigo..I find it so versatile!!

Peter Ward said...

And a Happy New Year to you and your family Hap with hopes for a much better 2012. Thanks for your kind comments.

The penetrating eyes and the wild look were what attracted me to this one. DS Indigo is superb despite (in spite of?) being a `convenience' paint. I'm going to do a piece on Indigo. Moonglow is also gaining plaudits from Yvonne and Jan. I've got it but haven't used it yet.

hap said...

I use moonglow on occasion but also will use shadow violet in the same instances...very interesting things DS has been doing eh?

Anonymous said...

I like the painting and the fact that you don't stick with black hair. The lessons of Charles Reid... In his Watercolor Solutions book I was amazed to see his 2 different(colorwise) interpretations of the photo of John Singer Sargent.

I'm starting to do work from old photos myself. Those frozen poses, held for the exposure, add an element of strangeness to the photos that can translate well to a painted image. Often, for me, the photo is just a starting point. I may take off to a totally different direction if the artistic impulse demands it :)

Peter Ward said...

Hap. DS do some very interesting paints but, unfortunately for us, are very expensive in the UK. W & N are much cheaper so it's a matter of picking the unique ones.

Peter Ward said...

Hi Oscar. There is an element of abstraction in Charles Reid's approach and, as you say, he doesn't stick to the colours as seen. My collection of old Indian photos is quite large and I'm tending to go for the ones showing the most character or unusual features. Most are in a sort of sepia colour with extremes of contrast so they do represent a challenge.