Category Archives: 30 x 30 Portrait Challenge

Spiked – Drawing

Spiked – Final, Graphite 7.5″x11″

Portrait #18 of my 30 x 30 Portrait Challenge, “Spiked” 7.5″ x 11″

This is another preparatory drawing for a watercolor painting (I hope). Events conspired against me today, keeping me away from studio time. Sigh.

First, I did a contour drawing of the shadow shapes. See stage 1.

Stage1

I shaded in the first level of value to separate the dark from the light. See Stage 2. This is often my favorite stage of the drawing, but I always have a hard time not taking it further.

Stage 2

Stage 3

I began to shadow in the dark darks of the hair and shoulders…

Stage 4

I found myself lost in the drawing, adding all the subtleties of the next layers of value. I try to draw in the same order as I would paint, from light to dark. I want to capture 5 layers of value; highlight, halftone, core shadow, reflected light and cast shadow; just like my teach, John Erickson, told me in college.

After putting the drawing away for a moment, I noticed the shoulders were too small. After that final adjustment, I decided to stop. 56 mins. A good prep for a watercolor painting. Stay tuned!

Liz

Portrait #16 of my 30×30 Portrait Challenge. And today is the 16th! Right on track.

Liz

Live Model! I really enjoy painting from a live model. I am a member of the Portrait Society of Reno. Each Wednesday morning from 9 am to noon, they organize for a live model at Nevada Fine Art, 1301 S. Virginia Street in mid-town Reno. All the painters (all media) pay a $10 model fee. The amazing Kay Genasci brings refreshments and sets up the model. If you’re anywhere near, come on along and join in the fun! Live sessions really do challenge our drawing skills, as there is no way to trace… Authentic!

Contour Drawing

I wanted to have a monumental view of the model, so I decided to sit down for this one, which is rare for me, as I usually paint standing. I started with the contour drawing for the first 20-minute pose.

I had been looking at the portraits of Pam Wenger (I think out of PA) the day before. She paints lovely portraits, full of personality and random shadows color. I love her skin tones. Some day I may have to take one of her workshops. Check out her website, http://www.pamwenger.com/

I started with the hair and background. I used Cobalt Blue Violet and Transparent Pyrrol Orange (Daniel Smith) as well as some Ultramarine Blue (Holbein) for a good colorful brown tone for her dark hair. I was intrigued with the red tones in the light, so I let the orange be more prevalent in the light areas. To turn the form, I shifted to the violet and blue tones for the shadows at the crown. I used the cobalt blue-violet and Quinacridone Red for the background.

Painting (Stage 1) Draft

Once moving on to the skin tones, I went in first with a layer of Pyrrol Transparent Orange and Raw Sienna Light, my brownish yellow and orange. I then added some greenish shade using a combination of Sap and Cascade Green (Daniel Smith). To give the painting an overall harmony, I brought in some of the violet to the shadow areas around the eyes and under the jaw, and touched in some of the green to the sweater and turtleneck, as well. I did bring in some Pyrrol Red in the eye sockets, nose, and mouth. I find I use Pyrrol Red on nearly every portrait, whether I intend to or not. It is a nice warm (but not too warm) semi-transparent pigment. I added some of the quin rose and cobalt blue-violet mix to the ends of the hair under her chin.

I was pleased with the painting, especially the likeness. I think I will adjust the shadows on the far shoulder, to let that recede rather than come forward. Then I will call ‘er done.

Thank you, Liz, for being a fantastic model, sitting like a statue. I think I saw you blink twice, though.

All Smiles Now – Drawing

All Smiles Now

Portrait #15 for 30 x 30 Challenge.

Keeping on with the challenge, my friend in California is doing the sketchy version of the portrait challenge. She wrote a blog post about doing teeth which made me realize I hadn’t attempted an open-mouth smile portrait in some time. So what’s a challenge without “a challenge”, eh? I agree teeth are hard to pull off, even in a drawing.

But this cutie patootie Tay smile is hard to resist.

During the photoshoot, It did take a bit of coaxing to find the smiles, but once we did, there was no hiding the “happy girl” bubbles. Tay, I have received my kitty cards now, so tell your mom you need to visit again?

I like the diagonal presentation, do you?  I am pondering a choice of colors.. I want to keep them soft and fresh. I will go review some paintings by my good friend, Janet Rogers. Maybe I will find my inspiration. I want lovely violet shadows and pink cheeks, so I’m thinking a Quinacridone Rose and Manganese Blue are in order, perhaps some Raw Sienna Light. I’ll have to ‘speriment. As always, Stay Tuned!

That Tickle Smile – Drawing

That Tickle Smile

Portraits 14 & 15 for my 30 x 30 Portrait Challenge.

I drew this value study in preparation for my next painting while watching Outlander on Netflix, so no video for the drawing process. I tried to remember to take process photos with my iPad, which also held the source photo. My friend, Breanne and her daughter Tay came earlier in the week for a “headshot” photoshoot. Tay started out shy with big wide eyes and a somber expression. Mom started giving her a little back tickle and out came the smiles.

The source photo is actually a little blurry. Sometimes I prefer slightly blurry photos. It helps keep me loose and general, rather than focused on the detail.

Drawing Stage 1

I started with ovals to set up the broad placement for the heads and Tay’s hand. I liked the diagonal composition to create a sense of movement. Mom’s gaze toward her daughter acts as a line back to Tay’s delightful face, the focal point.

After sketching in some contour lines, I began shading on the girl, her figure, moving to mom’s face, then the darks between them. I adjusted the size of mom’s head thinking it was too small and far away. Fortunately, I realized it early on, before “major surgery” as required.

Drawing Stage 2

Between Stage 3 and 4 I adjusted the mom’s far eye and added some more shading on the child’s hair, back and shoulders.

After putting it away overnight, I may make some adjustments to the girl’s hand, mom’s nose, and mom’s hairline?

Next up, painting! Stay tuned!

Update: First attempt at painting? Not so much. I’ll try again today.

That Tickle Smile

The Painting – Serious Golf Buddies

Series Golf Buddies

Serious Golf Buddies portraits 10, 11, 12 & 13 continue for my 30 x 30 Portrait Challenge.

After completing the value study drawing, I traced up the contour edges to 140lb Arches cold press watercolor paper. I like to refer to the drawing study as the “first date” with a painting. This is where I learn about my subject. Knowing my subject well allows me to be freer in the painting process.

Having said that, I did not notice the flaws before going into the painting. The main subject’s shoulders were too narrow, and the shadow cast by the nose was too dark compared to the shadow cast by the hat.

Serious Golf Buddies (Drawing)

In my first draft of the painting, I made the same mistakes, plus a few more. When one is in the middle of a painting, much like writing, one does not see the flaws. I find it is important to put away the painting for a time, place it at least across the room and look at it with fresh eyes. I call it staring time.

Serious Golf Buddies (Draft)

I edited the first draft to make those few adjustments. After wetting the paper front and back, I mixed up piles of Cobalt Blue Violet, Pyrrol Red, Transparent Pyrrol Orange, Quinacridone Red, and Raw Sienna Light (all by Daniel Smith); Keeping to a broad analogous color harmony scheme.

I painted in value layers, starting with the background to carve out the main shapes of the figures. I moved into the distant figures, keeping them in lighter tones, with cool shadows and warm light. I increased the pigment strength for the main figure to intensity the colors and darken the values. Now I’m calling ‘er done. And it makes me chuckle.

Serious Golf Buddies (Final)

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Serious Golf Buddies

Serious Golf Buddies

Portraits #10, #11, #12, & #13 of my 30 x30 Portrait Challenge.

A friend texted me a photo of himself with his golf buddies. It cracked me up. I had not done my portrait for the day, due to classes and other responsibilities. So here it is, my portrait x 4 offering for the day – just a graphite 7.5″x 11″ drawing on 90lb student grade watercolor paper. it may turn into a painting tomorrow, but I’ll need to transfer the drawing to thicker better paper first? And as I look at it here, I see a few drawing tweaks are in order. I’m pleased though that I was able to put 4 faces on one piece of paper in under an hour!

Isn’t She Lovely Too?

Isn’t She Lovely Too

Portrait #7? Day 7 of my 30/30 Portrait Challenge. Yesterday I drew a portrait of my friend. Today I painted over the drawing. In art school, we often had to paint a grisaille tonal painting, then glaze over it with color. I have seen painting done with graphite watercolor pigment before. Why not try painting over my graphite drawing? I would only have to glaze the color with one value becaus the value is already there, right?

Isn’t She Lovely? Graphite

I saturated the paper front and back, then dried it back to damp. I used Cobalt Blue Violet, New Gamboge, and Quinacridone Red (all by Daniel Smith).  I kept the pigment strength on the face mostly to coffee. In the hair, I mixed in creamy strength violet, red and yellow. Some of the graphite dissolved a bit, but what remains creates some fun shadows and texture. I quite like it. “Isn’t She Lovely Too” watercolor on 140 lb cold press, 11″x7.5″.

Compare to graphite drawing. (Click on images for a larger view).

Is it fair to count these as two portraits? I had a discussion with “The Rule Maker” person. We decided we weren’t sure, so we painted another…just to be on the safe side (Stay tuned for next blog post).

Isn’t She Lovely?

Isn’t She Lovely?

Portrait #6 for my 30/30 Portrait Challenge. I meet a friend for coffee on many Sundays. This time I shanghaied her into a photo “headshot” session, so I could have some good source photos for this challenge. I wanted to paint this in watercolor, but my Monday was a more than typical crazy Monday. I guess because this particular Monday is also the first Monday back from the holiday break.

Isn’t She Lovely (first draft)

Right after my next batch of “headshot” sitters came through the studio on Monday afternoon, I started the painting sketch process. But alas a customer came in and gave me the perfect diversion. If you’re going to be diverted, it may as well be by a paying customer, right?

Then I had to rush out and pick up my Little at the bus stop. There is no being late for the bus. They come when they come and if one is not there, Littles could be left feeling abandoned. I didn’t miss her, but it was close! The Little and I had a fun time talking about her latest style change in her drawings (She’s really good! Maybe she’s let me share some of her stuff here someday). After taking the Little home, now I’m well into my evening hours.

I do have a couple of travel watercolor kits at home, but now the kitties want attention (for some reason?). So I drew on my lap… because drawing. Nothing in my rules said the portraits had to all be PAINTED.

However, I did find I had left most of my drawing utensils at the studio. I had two lead holders, one thick, one really thick. The thick lead was HB or 2H or something (too light), so I was mostly relegated to the chunky lead, which made me think of my GREAT college art professor, John Erickson. But I digress.

I drew with the drawing board flat, which skewed my perception somewhat. As a result, in my first draft, I gave her too much chin. I made a few more adjustments to the far eye, the neck and mouth (see “first draft” image with lead holders), but now I’m calling it done. Here is a sketch of my friend, “Isn’t She Lovely?” Click on images for a larger view.

Isn’t She Lovely (Final)

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Feed Me!

Feed Me! watercolor 11″x7.5″

Portrait challenge 5/30 for my 30/30 Portrait Challenge.

I almost did not do this portrait. I had worked on a two-kitty portrait for two days and thought perhaps that was enough. Just as I prepared to leave the studio for home, I thought, “Okay, just do a quick sketch in preparation for tomorrow’s portrait. So, I put my things down, found a fuzzy source photo of me from a few years ago. My husband does most (actually virtually all) of the cooking for our household. We have a standing joke based on a Simon’s Cat video (Click link for a good laugh). When I’m anticipating dinner, I do the punch line of the video. Ha!

After doing a quick 10-minute sketch, I decided to put down some paint too. I saturated the paper front and back, and then mixed up some paint puddles in my mixing areas. This time I thought I’d try some secondary pigments (Daniel Smith’s Cobalt Blue Violet and Cascade Green), as well as Phthalo Blue, and try to stay to an analogous color scheme.

After drying the paper back to damp, I began with the violet and green, negatively painting around the head and hand. As I moved into the portrait, I decided I wanted skins tones after all, so I switched to Daniel Smith Pyrrol Red, Raw Sienna Light, and Manganese Blue Hue, using a bit of the violet for the darks in the eyes and hair.

I only painted the shadow shapes with coffee strength pigment for the first layer. I thickened the paint a bit for the second layer of value.

I had been videotaping the process. My camera beeped at me, informing me the SD card was full. I figured that was the painting gods telling me to STOP! Keep it a sketch. So I did. “Feed Me!” watercolor sketch on Arches 140 lb cold press paper, 11″x7.5″

She’s Mine

She’s Mine

Portrait challenge days 3 & 4. Two more critters. “She’s Mine” watercolor 7.5″x11″. (Click on the images for a larger view).

These are two of our kitties. Kelly is the calico, Portia is the black kitten. We had just adopted Portia, who was a feral kitten. She was so relieved when we let Kelly into her “adaptation” room. In the source photo, she was still quite leery of “those big animals with no hair who feed me.” We adopted Kelly from a no-kill shelter organization. We only know her background from after she was found on the street, already spayed, about a year old. She really took to nurturing little Portia. Maybe she had already had a batch of kittens herself?

As to the painting process, I sketched a quick outline drawing on Arches 140lb cold press paper and then saturated the paper front and back. While the paper soaked, I prepared pools of Pyrrol Red, Phthalo Blue (gs), New Gamboge, and a little Quinacridone Rose.

She’s Mine (Stage 1)

I painted in value layers by wetting the shadow/color areas and dropped the pigments together, letting them mix on the paper. I liked letting the paint bleed out beyond the edges of the shapes. After about an hour of painting, I was pretty happy with it and stopped (see image stage 1).

After staring at the painting overnight, I decided to work on it some more a second day. I lifted off the colored areas of Portia’s eyes using masking tape, a snap knife, and a magic eraser. I thought the top of the far eye was at the wrong angle. I also decided the kitty bed needed to be hinted at behind her, even though that was not in the photo. I also added a hint of shadows behind the bed and Portia.

Since this painting has two faces, I’m counting this a numbers 3 and 4 of my 30/30 portrait challenge <smile>.