Violet Shadows

Violet Shadows

Portrait # 8 Day 8 of my 30/30 Portrait Challenge.  “Violet Shadows” watercolor on 140lb Arches Cold Press paper, 11″x7.5″. Click on the image for a larger view.

Since I did a graphite drawing value understudy in my last painting, this time I decided to begin this portrait completely the opposite without ANY pre-drawing. Yikes!

I had taken some great photos of this gentleman in my temporary  “headshot” photo set up the day before. I really enjoy creating dramatic, contrasting light. I placed the model with diffused lights behind and to his left, and a bright reflective light to his right.

For the painting, I saturated the paper front and back. While the paper was soaking I mixed up piles of paint in my mixing areas. I decided to limit myself to an analogous color Harmony scheme, using two violet pigments, Rose of Ultramarine and Cobalt Blue Violet, and Quinacridone Red (all by Daniel Smith).

I dried the paper back to damp, then painted the shadow shapes, “drawing” shapes with my brush, starting with coffee strength pigment and working to creamy-strength for the final details.

I found it quite a challenge to get the proportions right without the benefit of a pencil and an eraser. I had made a major error on the far eye placement that couldn’t be fixed, so I had to adjust the nearer eye, plus the nose, back of the head, ear, and mouth proportions to accommodate the mistake – Major surgery! I had also made the neck too thin. I’ll have to review the video to see how I did it because I have no idea how I pulled it off. Ha!

I quite liked the challenge and really enjoy the resulting portrait. I will plan to do several more portraits without a pre-drawing.

Last July I participated in a Facegroup group challenge where it was suggested we paint wet-into-wet and “direct” (meaning no pre-drawing) for a 30/30 challenge. The Facebook group dedicated to direct painting does a challenge every month, I think. The link to the group is

Today I went to the Portrait Society of Reno’s live model session. I had intended to try my hand at another direct painting, but I went off without my brushes. Sigh. I only had a tiny little plein air kit brush about the size of a large sewing needle. Grrr!  I was reminded of why I loathe tiny brushes. My artist friend, Kay, loaned me her big brush, but by then I had created a great big mess with that teeny tiny brush. I’ll not share portrait #9. I’ll just know it’s done <smile>. Next week I will try again, but… better packing and planning are in order. I truly enjoyed seeing all my portrait painting buddies, though, as I had not been for quite some time.

This original painting is available for $150 unframed, $185 with mat, or $250 framed (plus sales tax and/or shipping, where applicable). The mat is white a black core with outside dimensions of 11″x14″ (standard frame opening size), foam core backing and clear cellophane packaging. Framing varies.

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