Monday, March 12, 2012

Painting a Head Study, Part 5

This is my fifth installment, thanks for hanging in there! If you missed any of the others, here are links for the first 4.

Part 1, which dealt with griding, drawing and the rub out under painting stage.

Part 2, which included premixing a flesh tone palette and storage of paint; 

Part 3, in which I explored oiling out, and the pros and cons of working from photographs

Part 4, a session of discoveries and surprises.
In this session I painted the right ear, the cheek, earing and finished up the nose. 

As always, I made corrections to the drawing as I painted. The ear and the side of the face were still too wide.

A few things I noticed and tried to capture:
~a pink color in the cheek, and a more golden color lower on the jaw

~nostrils are a mixture of umbers and permanent madder deep and there always seems to be light shining through the nose that keeps it a warm reddish color.

~there is a beautiful, warm light reflected off the cheek onto the underside of the nose on the left side of the face.

~I stopped painting before I got to the edge of the lip since I didn't want to demo for too long. I like to stop for a session in the interior of a form rather than at the edge of the form. I don't want a build up of paint on the edges of things like lips.

~it's best to soften all edges at this stage and spend a good deal of time moving paint back and forth at edges. Soft edges visually turn in space. 

~the paint is a little choppy on the middle of the cheek but it does let you see the direction of the brush strokes. I generally brush across a form to describe the mass.
A few tricks to help with accurate drawing:
~Turn the painting and your photo reference upside down or on it's side to see it with a fresh eye. For some reason that helps to see things in shapes rather than as an eye or a nose and for that reason you can see it more accurately.
~Look at it in a mirror. I have a small, hand-held mirror that I glance at over my shoulder, or I haul it in to the bathroom where there is a large mirror.
~See the painting reduced. A student gave me a reducing glass but you can also take a picture of it and look at the reduced version. Even a phone camera works for this.
Till next week when I hope to finish this up!


  1. Loving following along on this series. Will you make this an e-book?

    1. Karla, I have not thought about this but that could be a good idea. I'm glad you are enjoying it and thanks for reading!

  2. Thank you for providing us the step by step procedure on how to paint a head. It is useful indeed!

  3. Grace, glad you are getting good out of it, thanks :)

  4. Yes thanks again, really enjoying this demo and would love to see an ebook....or video download (heh heh) in the future if you have time :)



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