When you paint a flower

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Technical Matters By Bev Lee Making Faces Capturing a likeness involves a good drawing, accurate values and smart color choices. In this demo, I ll walk you through my process step by step. When you paint
Technical Matters By Bev Lee Making Faces Capturing a likeness involves a good drawing, accurate values and smart color choices. In this demo, I ll walk you through my process step by step. When you paint a flower or an onion, no one is going to question whether that flower or onion looks like the one that was in front of you when you were painting. This definitely is not the case with portrait painting, however. A good portrait needs to resemble the subject. Ideally, it also should capture the subject s personality and character. This sounds like a tall order, and it is but it s not impossible. By taking things one step at a time, you can avoid becoming overwhelmed and feeling like you want to give up. It s helpful to break the face down into parts, learning to see each feature as a set of abstract shapes with distinct values and colors. Consider how the edges of those shapes change, depending on whether they re in light or shadow, and study how values help to create the illusion of form and depth on a twodimensional surface. By practicing these techniques, you can learn to create an accurate likeness. Then you can work on capturing the personality of your subject. This process takes time not only hours of practice, but time spent becoming acquainted with the person you want to paint. I ve done many portraits using hired models in a group setting. These sessions helped me practice the fundamentals, but the results aren t nearly as satisfying as my work from models I know well. So, take Reference Photo of Anna time to visit with your subject before getting down to business. I ask children about their interests, and then carefully observe their expressions and mannerisms. These observations help achieve a more lifelike portrait. Tools & Materials For this demonstration, I worked on an 18x14-inch sheet of Wallis sanded pastel paper. To tone the paper, I laid down a layer of a mid-value olive green (I usually use a harder pastel like Nupastel). I then brushed over the color with odorless mineral spirits using a large, flat soft bristle brush and sweeping strokes. I use a variety of pastel brands Nupastel, Rembrandt, Terry Ludwig, Sennelier, Unison and Townsend among them. The child sitter, Anna, had fair skin, light hair and blue eyes. The palette for her portrait consisted of: black-green; blue (light, mid-value and dark); blue-gray (lightest, light and mid-value); blue-green (light); blue-violet (light, mid-value and dark); brown (mid-value); burnt sienna (lightest and light); burnt umber (light, mid-value and dark); cool red (mid-value); gold ochre (dark); pink (lightest); raw umber; (light and mid-value), red-violet (light, mid-value and darkest); reddish brown (dark); warm brown (light and mid-value); warm pink (light), warm red (mid-value); yellow ochre (mid-value and dark); and various colors for the dress. 1Step 1: Map the Face Rather than doing a precise drawing, I used a technique I call mapping to mark the placement for the important elements of fth the face. Using these marks, I worked my way out from the eye, observing and drawing shapes and values as I went. With dark blue-violet, I lightly marked the shadow area on Anna s left cheek and added the shape next to her nose and beside her left eye. I blocked in the dark on her ear. Then, using the same blue-violet, I blocked in the shape of the dark part of the hair, marking areas of directional changes. 56 The Pastel Journal December 2008 Map the Face Eyebrows Hair and Nose Forehead 2Step 2: Eyebrows 3Step 3: Hair and Nose Using a mid-value warm brown, I drew Using the darkest red-violet, I painted the eyebrows. I painted the area under the dark areas of the hair, then lay- her right brow with warm pink, and the ered over it with dark burnt umber. I area from the brow to the edge of the painted the darkest area of the bangs face with light burnt umber. I painted on Anna s right with a mid-value redviolet layered with warm brown, then the area under her left brow with warm pink layered with light raw umber and painted the mid-value areas with a the area to the right of this with warm mid-value warm brown and dark yellow ochre. I used light burnt sienna pink. I used a dark reddish brown to define the upper eyelids. To make the for the light area and painted the dark separation between the upper lids and area of the remaining bangs with darkest red-violet, layered with dark red- the top of the eyes, I used a mid-value blue-violet, glazed with warm pink. I dish brown. I made the separations in blocked in the irises with black-green, the hair with a mid-value warm brown defi ning their shape with light bluegray. I painted the areas under the eyes to paint every strand or section, just (Keep in mind that you don t need with a mid-value blue-violet. enough to suggest the idea). Next, I added warm red and gold ochre to the warm areas. I painted the nose using a mid-value dark blue-violet and mid-value red violet to establish the near side. I painted the nostrils with dark reddish brown, then warm red. I painted the near side with warm red as well, then laid down strokes of warm pink next to this. I painted over the shadow on the cheek and the inner ear with dark reddish brown and added warm pink to the tip of the ear. I then added warm red to the mouth. 4Step 4: Forehead I painted the forehead area under the bangs using a mid-value blue-violet glazed with warm brown and warm pink. December Technical Matters Near Side of the Face Lips On the edge of the forehead, I used dark gold ochre and warm brown. I used midvalue gold ochre to blend with the side of the shadow under the bangs. For the area between the strands of hair on the forehead, I used a combination of gold ochre, warm pink and mid-value burnt umber. I added warm red to the corners of the eyes and warm pinks under Anna s right eye and next to the near side of her nose. painted the mid-line above the lips with mid-value blue-violet and warm pink. I painted the skin above the far side of the mouth with light burnt sienna. I applied warm pink to the lower lip on the near side and added blue-violet to the cool areas around the mouth and the area on Anna s lower left side. together. I brought down the dark shape of the hair on Anna s left using the darkest red-violet. To draw the shapes of the hair on the far side of the face, I used warm brown. Using a dark reddish brown, I marked the near side of the neck and the placement of the shoulders and edge of the dress. 7Step 7: Far Side of the Face 9Step 9: Jaw and the Neck To establish the far side of the face, I In this area, I painted a line of dark red- 5Step 5: The Near Side of the Face added warm pink on the far side of the dish brown along the edge of the dress. I used light warm brown to carefully nose and mouth. I painted strokes of I then drew the creases in the neck on draw the strands of hair that cross over light burnt umber from the warm pink Anna s right with dark blue-violet and and curl up the near side of the head. area toward the outside of the face. I went over this with reddish brown, slow- I painted the ear with dark reddish painted strokes of warm pink above the ly blending the lower crease toward the brown and red-violet in the inner ear. I used warm red and warm pink for the lighter areas. For the inner edge of the ear, I used light red-violet. I painted the shadow on the cheek with warm red and red-violet. And I added strokes of midvalue blue-violet and warm red to the near side of the mouth. I added strokes of warm red to Anna s left cheek. Next to the warm red, I painted strokes of warm pink. I applied light burnt sienna to the area from the near side of the nose to the warm pink area. Then I painted warm pink on the lower right side of edge of the dress and the upper one toward the chin. I added strokes of warm red and pink on the far side of the neck, and painted the center of the neck with warm pink. I applied strokes of blueviolet under the lower left jaw. I added warm brown on the lower left side of the area above her left eye. the chin. neck and painted a line of warm red next to the dark line on the neck. 6Step 6: Lips 8Step 8: Blend Colors Together I used warm red to paint the lips. I used Using hard pastels in mid- and light val- Step 10: Define the Hair dark red-violet for the darker area on ues of burnt umber, I started to lightly To finish defining the hair on the far side, Anna s upper left side, a lighter warm blend the areas of light color. Then I I used dark umber and mid-value warm pink for the lighter areas, and a dark used a hard pastel in a mid-value brown brown to mark the dark shape. I used reddish brown for the separation. I to gently blend the areas of darker color light warm brown and light raw umber 58 The Pastel Journal December 2008 Far Side of the Face Blend Colors Together Jaw and Neck Define the Hair December Finishing Touches Anna (18x14) to go over the lighter strands and added dark yellow ochre to the inner edge of the strands. Using warm brown, I drew the shape of the curled section of hair on Anna s left. Using warm red and warm pink, I blended from the edge of the dress on Anna s right toward the crease. I used warm pink and midvalue burnt umber to blend the areas of color on the center of the neck. I used mid-value red-violet and warm brown to blend the areas on the near side of the neck. I painted the shadow shapes on the dress with mid-value blue. Step 11: Finishing Touches To further define the side of the hair, I used the lightest burnt sienna and the lightest blue-gray in the background. I also used this to make negative shapes between the strands on the far side. Using the burnt sienna and blue-gray and a bit of light raw umber, I worked color into the hair on the near side. I finished the longest strand on Anna s left by painting dark reddish brown into the darks, followed by warm brown painted into the reddish brown. I finished the details with light warm brown and light raw umber. I left the details of the eyes for the end. To finish them, I used a mid-value blue around the pupils on the lower edge of the irises, then added a bit of blue-gray to this. For the lighter area of Anna s right eye, I used a bit of light raw umber and warm pink. For the highlight, I used the lightest blue-gray. I used the mid-value blue-violet to reestablish the cool area under the near jaw. I used light blue-greens and blues for the dress, adding highlights with lightest blue and lightest pinks. To add a bit of sparkle and interest, I added the primary-colored dots for the decoration on her dress. Bev Lee is a signature member of the Pastel Society of America and a member of the Pastel Society of Colorado. This demonstration was excerpted from her new book, Painting Children: Secrets to Capturing Childhood Moments, released this fall from North Light Books (www.nlbooks.com). 60 The Pastel Journal December 2008
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