Young Man with Bushy Beard


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One of my students had told me of a website that had great photo references for faces – Portraits for Drawing. It’s from there that I painted this portrait.

young man with bushy beard May2015 oil 6x4

I felt pretty good about this painting. I was careful with my brushstrokes that is not to blend too early but simply paint tiles of colors.

Size is 8 x 6 inches.

I’ve been watching a lot of videos by Zimou Tan. Most of his demos of alla prima portraits are small and are finished within 3 hours. So I follow suit. Instead of working 9 x 12’s which usually takes much longer to complete, I’ll just work in a 6 x 8 format.

The Finish of the 6-Hour Pose


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Last Tuesday was the last 3 hours of the 6-Hour pose at Paulo Ruvalcabo’s alla prima class at the School of Light and Color.

Here’s the previous post on the first 6 hour –

What I took from here is something I had heard before but now is sinking it – The sphere shape in rendering the values from shadows to light. Areas to pay close attention to is around the forehead, along the cheekbones, around the jaw line, the transition on the nose planes from side to top and then to the other side, the roundness of the eyelids and the roundness of the lips.

Another point that I have finally become more aware of is that different colors of the same values can be blended in. I’m a bit still uncertain how to deal with this new knowledge but I still need to think in values even though colors are introduced.

Anyway I’m happy with the results. I found spending longer forces me to developed the painting more and even taking the time to correct. Lesson well learned!
Michael 050812 oil 14x11

Quick Study


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This is a quick study of the 6-hour pose. Based on an article I read in the May issue of The Artist Magazine by Felicia Forte, I followed her technique of painting a portrait using just 4 colors: titanium white, ivory black, yellow ochre and cadmium red.

The procedure is drawing the shapes, establishing light/shadow patterns, put in the local skin color and the local shadow colors and finally refining. All four colors are used but in varying degrees depending if it is shadow or light. For instance, the shadow consist mainly of black and red with a touch of yellow. The skin in the light is made up of red and yellow with a touch of white. Highlights are mainly yellow and white with a very touch of red.

This article helped quite a bit as how to use the colors more effectively.

And this is 6 x 8 on canvas paper.

Male Model at SLC

6 Hour Pose


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In class today we start the 6 hour pose. If I hadn’t mentioned it in my previous post, I’m taking an alla prima class taught by Paulo Ruvalcaba at the School of Light and Color.

The model posed for 25 minutes and then took a break. After each pose I took a photo of my WIP. Since it was a 6 hour pose, I worked slowly and more deliberately. And worked on a larger canvas panel, 11 x 14, instead of my normal 9 x 12.

The first 25 minute was spend measuring twice before “cutting”. I found myself readjusting the features a few times.
6 hour pose 1

Once the block in was established for the shadows, I came in with shadow color and light color for the skin. The hair was done with a separate color pile with more of a greenish tone.
6 hour pose 2

Here I developed lighter tones to the skin and hair. The lower lip is more rosy. Paulo pointed out that at this stage I need to break down the big shapes to smaller shapes.
6 hour pose 3

From this point I continued to develop the values in the light area and darkened the shadows. I paid attention to the 3 areas of colors in the face…top third is much lighter and yellow, the mid third tends to be more reddish due to the cheeks and the lower third is more gray.
6 hour pose 4

I was able to develop the lower third to have more of a greenish/gray tone in the shadows of the cheeks. Since there was a few minutes, Paulo suggested soften some of the edges.
6 hour pose 5

to be continued next week….

Flowers plein aire painting


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Today I spend all day painting. First started the morning painting at the Cloverleaf Farm in Dixon. Part of the Yolo Arts & Ag Project. Beautiful farm with so many flowers and orchards and wide open fields. I had painted a landscape then did a couple of watercolors of flowers. The hollyhocks came out the best of the two.

Hollyhocks at Cloverleaf Farm 042515 8x5

After the farm I went home and took my dog out to Central Park in downtown Davis. Located in the park is a small arboretum featuring ideas for a water drought yard but also featured are these huge and beautiful roses.

Red Roses at Central Park 042515 8x5

It’s rare that I get a chance to paint all day.


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