Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Walter - oil on panel, 12x16 inches

Here is a portrait commission I recently finished up.

To start, I did a detailed drawing to scale. Then I transferred the drawing onto my panel:

I blocked-in the painting using burnt sienna, and maybe mixed it with a little ultramarine blue, I can't remember exactly. I've also started putting a little color into the end table to the left.
This stage is really to get something under my darkest colors, because when I put semi-transparent paint down onto a white panel, it isn't dark enough. So starting with a thin underpainting allows me to lay-in subsequent layers at closer to the correct value.

Here it is with more colors down. I used the "Zorn palette" for this painting because it installs a nice color harmony. The palette I used consisted of white, yellow ochre, cadmium red light, and ivory black. Mixing the black with white produces a variety of dull blues, so his jeans and sweater are just those two pigments. The flesh tones are of course all 4 colors mixed in varying amounts. The ochre I used for this painting is Lefranc & Bourgeois yellow ochre pale, which is a natural pigment; i.e., dug from the ground and not made in a lab like most are. It is a tad gritty but I liked it a lot for painting flesh....Fast forwarding through the painting's teenage awkward years, we arrive here:
A friend pointed out that the background was a bit distracting from the rest of the painting, and I felt there wasn't a strong direction to the light source. It also looks a little sterile to me now. So I painted a color gradient onto the back wall, and did a little scumbling to meld the end table and lamp into the background.

Here's the end result again so you don't have to scroll back up to see. TADA! The background has a pleasing, opalescent quality that the photo didn't pick up. And the clients were happy with it.