Watts Atelier Online program: The Skull

I started back up with the painting program at Watts Atelier Online. I just finished a series of assignments that involves painting the skull, Asaro head and a cast. Each were to be painted from a profile, three-quarter and straight view as well as painting with combination of monochromatic colors. This was the second time I have done these assignments but it had been a year ago. But to do them again was worth it all.

Here is a profile view using the burnt umber pick out method. Burnt umber is applied in mid value. Lighter values are then picked out with cotton swabs, towels, brush dipped in gamsol or even with my finger.

Skull Profile burnt umber 060115

This assignment was to use burnt umber with white. The beginning of blending colors together.
Skull 3:4 painting 2

The final assignment is adding ivory black to titanium white and phthalo blue. Thalo blue is a very strong color so black and white toned it down. Quite a interesting but ghostly effects.
Skull Front thalo blue w blk wht 060115

The Finish of the 6-Hour Pose

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 – https://marleneleeart.com/2015/04/29/6-hour-pose/.

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

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

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….

Encaustic Portrait Painting Workshop

I took this workshop back in February. Taught by Francisco Benitez, he introduced us to the history of encaustics painting. Encaustic painting were first discovered among the Egyptians and Greeks artists. Egyptians used encaustics for their Fayum portrait paintings for tombs and Greeks for their paintings on ships.

In this workshop, Benitz introduced encaustic portrait painting. We worked from a live model. First did a quick sketch to determine composition, and shadows/light patterns then we laid in a pencil outline of the model on a canvas panel.

The colors are heated; we used the 4 colors that the ancient Greeks and Egyptians used – white, black, red and yellow ochre. Sound familiar? Zorn! Two piles are created – reddish tone for shadows and the yellowish tone for lights.

The wax color is either painted on with the heated blow gun keeping it melted enough to spread. Or the color is brushed on and then heated with the blow gun to fused the wax color to the bottom layer. A heated tool is provided for detail. Bristle brushes are used instead of synthetic so they do not melt.

Photo references in my FB fanpage shows how Benitz worked when painting his portraits.

Encaustic Portrait Painting Workshop


After taking Watts Atelier Online drawing program for almost a year coupled with Terry Miura’s Life Drawing/Painting class, I’ve noticed an improvement in my drawing.
The self portrait was done in 2007. The second one, Brianna, took 40 minutes to do and was done 2 years ago. The last one was done for a demo in my portrait drawing class. It was done in less than an hour.

(My husband commented that between the first two portraits, self-portrait and Brianna, there were not much improvement. There is a 5 year span. But between the one done recently and Brianna, there is only 2 years. A big change which I’m happy to see.

Self portrait pencil