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Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Portrait Demo Stage 2

Click picture for large image

STAGE 2 - Cool and Dark

When I work a portrait I always work cool - warm, working on the darkest shadows through to the lighter, warmer areas.

I first place the coolest shadows in and then the warmer shadows.

For this portrait I decided on the following tricolour palette. Normally I would just go straight in with this selection, I don't sample them first on scrap, make colour charts and mixing charts...I just paint and MAKE it work.
My theory is that the colour doesn't really matter, only the temperature of the colour interests me and the values in the painting. If I painted a perfectly formed apple in a palette of purple and pink, it would still be an apple, the fact that it isn't green or red doesn't hinder the finished piece!
However, for this demo I have made a loose chart for you to enable you to see my selection clearly:

As you can see at the bottom , the 3 paints make a nice warm violet ideal for warmer shadows and a nice green/blue for the darker, cooler shadows.

I am using a Pentel Water Brush for this portrait, they come in 3 sizes...I think mine is the medium tip. I use it for all my journaling and travel sketching.

Applying the shadows in a baby or children's portrait is where it can all go wrong. Too crisp a line adds age to a portrait as wrinkles do to a person, gentle blending and graduation is the key!

This doesn't mean you should ignore the darks you see, they are necessary for form and will enable your portrait to have dimension. Build them up gently, running a wet, clean brush over the edge of the shadow will allow the graduation to be smooth and therefore, ageless.
Warmer shadows will usually exist around the creases in the nose, inside of the mouth...anywhere that usually generates some kind of heat. They will appear redder in hue.
Remember, the whites of the eyes are NOT white throughout, they are spheres and therefore will have shadows and form like any other part of Ellie's cute little face!

I have uploaded a very large image so you can see my approach in detail.



:) Silvia said...

This is a very interesting demo, thanks a lot for sharing it with us :)

Anita Davies said...

Thankyou so much for the feedback Silvia, I'm glad you are enjoying it.

bec said...


Anita Davies said...

Thank you Bec.

Margaret Ann said...

This is something I LOVE-watching someone do something they love to do...and doing it so well! Super!

Susan's Scribbles said...

I'm really happy that you are sharing this demo Anita. It's very helpful for those of us who haven't developed their talents to your level yet.
Can't wait to see the next step.

katequicksilvr said...

This is fascinating, Anita, thank you for taking us along...


Anita Davies said...

Thank you Margaret. I do love painting portraits, I think because they present such a challenge and are full of character and emotion.

Thanks Susan, I am so pleased you are finding it helpful.

It's wonderful to have you on board Kate!