Saturday, August 15, 2009

Almost done

I was able to bring Rachel's hairline down. I lifted a bit of color from the top of her head and blended in some 10% French Gray.

I also narrowed her face and neck by widening the shadow of her hair on the left.

She also got more hair on the right side of her forehead. This looks more like Rachel now!

As you can see I have deepened all the tones on her face. I did it by walking up the skin value scale to level 5 using mostly the pinks along with burnt umber and terra cotta.

These were some pretty major changes from where she was a few days ago. By keeping my strokes light I was easily able to add more color where I needed it. The key to portraits with CP is a light light touch!

Finished at least for now.

I have deepened all the shadow areas with Henna, Terra Cotta and Dark brown. They were then blended with either Clay rose or rosy beige depending on the value level of the area. .

I widened the background on the right and added more hair to improve the crop.

The last step is to go over her entire face and neck with cream, light peach or beige depending on the value of the area to blend and smooth the skin.

That's it!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Day four.

I didn't do much today but I did decide to check my work. Using a piece of Mylar film I traced my reference photo. Whew! I should have done it sooner! I have a lot of work to do.

I have laid my Mylar line drawing over my painting. While I have her features pretty accurate. I sure do need to lower her hair line and make her face and neck a bit narrower. I also need to make that area under her chin a bit more narrow. These are easy fixes. Had they needed to have been made wider it would have be a lot harder. I will post my progress here as I get time maybe later this week.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Day Three Step 1

There are eight steps in this session. You will have to click "older posts" to see them all.

I started the work on Rachel today by getting the mouth closer to the values I saw in my reference photo. I added some 70% French Gray to her teeth and blended that with 10% French Gray and Cream.

I added some more Carmine to her lips and also some Henna. I blended that with Rosy Beige and Clay Rose in the darker areas of her lips. Henna was added to the gum line in darker areas.

90% French Gray went on her back teeth to help deepen and turn her mouth.

Day Three Step 2

The area under Rachel's chin needed to be darkened a bit.

I have added Yellow Ochre and Terra Cotta under her neck and then blended it with Pink.

Day Three Step 3

I have added pink to her nostrils and darkened the on on the left with black. It is darker on that side because of the way the light hits her face.

I think her eyes are too blue so I have brightened them turned them more Hazel with Goldenrod over the blue. Because CP is transparent it is easy to change the color a bit by mixing yellow into the blue to make her eyes a bit greener.

I also deepened the blue around the edge of her iris with Indigo Blue

Day Three Step 4

I have lightly layered Burnt Ochre over the dark areas of Rachel's face.

Day Three Step 5

The Burnt Ochre has been blended with Peach.

All of these colors have been applied with a #1 pressure.

Day Three Step 6

I have continued to contour Rachel's face with Pink and Light umber. The light umber will look really dirty if you don't lay down pink or a warm color first. I have used these colors in the areas I want to push back into her head a bit further, around the eyes and in the hollows around her mouth.

Day Three Step 7

I decided that I wanted to really darken the left side of Rachel's face. I have done it by continuing to walk up the skin value bar using Henna and Dark brown. I even added some dark umber. I blended it with Clay rose and then lightly brushed it to smooth it a bit.

There's one more step after this one. Click on "older posts" below.

Day Three Step 8

I have blended all of the darkened area and added a bit of pink to the right side of her face. I have also worked some more on the eye on the right to contour it a bit more.

I am far from done with this piece but it's all I can do today. These eight steps represent about 4 hours of work.

I finished up the work today by adding more color to Rachel's lips with Pink and Carmine.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Reference Photo

Sorry I haven't uploaded the reference photo before this. The file it was in became corrupt some how. I finally was able to clean it up so I could open it.

I hope this gives you a better idea of what I am talking about.

Step one for Sautrday!

I didn't like the way my photos looked last night of the work I had done yesterday. I scanned my work today and I think you can better see what I am trying to show you.

Here's a scan of where I started today.

If you click on the photos your browser will take you to a larger image so you can better see what I am talking about.

I think I have finally gotten the hang of putting these lessons on line for you. I hope you have and are enjoying them.

The best part is after a day of hard work at the drawing board I can take my computer down to the dock and enjoy a glass of wine with hubby and write these lessons while I relax.

Step Two

I have worked on the contours of Rachel's face with Goldenrod.

Then I used the same color to start contouring the darker areas of her neck. I didn't use it on the right side of her neck where it's lighter. It's a high light area and I want to keep it very warm and pink.

I have also added some Carmine to her lips.

Rachel step Three

Concentrating only on her neck I have darkened the shadows of her neck with Burnt Ochre. For now I am going to disregard the area of her neck under her chin.

Step Four

Using Pink I gave washed over some of the darker contours of Rachel's face and then down into the dark areas of her neck to blend the Burnt Ochre a bit.

I have worked into into her forehead with it and around her eyes, nose and mouth. Her nose is starting to lift away from her face a bit and her eyes are starting to recede into it a bit with these areas darkened.

Not her ear on the right. I had to get rid of that light patch of skin. Using at one one color from each value level I walked that earlobe all the way up to value 6 with Tuscan red and black at the end.

Step Five

Looking for the darker areas I have lightly washed henna over the dark areas of her neck only. I didn't think the first wash was enough so I did a second one to get it this dark.

I have stopped washing over her face and just am going to concentrate on her neck now for a while.

Step Six

Boy a lot happened here didn't it???

Using my value finder I realized I was nowhere dark enough in the dark areas of her neck. It's really scary to do this dark! Trust me I never get over that fear!

Grabbing my French Gray and holding my breath I did the deed and really darkened my baby girl's neck down. Stepping back from my drawing board I was pretty disappointed with myself. I didn't like it at all.

Sooo........... I grabbed my trusty blending brush and scrubbed her down. Big mistake. I used too much pressure. I lost a lot of the dark! I couldn't believe it.

I blended it all again with Pink and carried it over into the right side of her neck following the contours I saw in my reference photo. Then I blended it again with light umber.

It made me feel better. The blending brush really helps get rid of the little white flecks that makes skin tones look ashy and dry. I wasn't expecting it to remove as much of the color as it did though. That was a bit of a surprise. Next time I will not scrub so hard and use a lighter touch with the brush.

Rachel step Seven

All that French Gray was really making me nervous. I HATED her neck. It was looking like she used to when she came in from horseback riding! I wanted to blend those two lighter areas in her neck a bit more and make them look like they belonged as well.

Using light umber I soften those edges of French Gray and darken the lighter areas on the left.

Then I went over her entire neck with a #1 pressure and a very sharp Beige, blending and filling in those tiny little holes that make skin look like it needs a good dose of lotion. It made a huge difference.

Rachel step Eight

OK I am feeling better about the little area under her chin. I knew the next step was to address that. I like it now. I think that it gives perspective to her face and lifts her face away from her neck.

In this small area under her chin I have walked up the value scale from my first two washes of cream and light peach. I used at least two hues from every value level. A yellow and a pink. Using a #1 pressure I took it all the way up to henna and then a little used just the tiniest wash of 90% French gray.

I still didn't like the way her neck looked so I ever so lightly brushed it pulling color from the dark side over to the lighter side on the right. It softened everything and I really like the way it looks now and it didn't lift too much color. Whew! That's a relief!

I started this work at 11 AM today and ended about 3:30 with a break for lunch and beating my husband twice at backgammon. I've been on a winning streak for the last 3 days and it's killing him :o) His turn will come!

Friday, August 7, 2009


At this point I feel like she needed that other eye in place.

I completed it similarly to what we did in class yesterday.

This sequence represents about 2 hours of work.

I wish these photos were a bit clearer so you could see better what a difference the contouring is making.

After adding each new value layer I dropped back level and blended the new layer with the value color one step lower. It helps to smooth and mix the color as I go. I will do that again as I move up the value scale and again at the end when I have all the color on her face.

I hope to get more time in on this tomorrow. I want to finish her neck first I think. That dark area will guide me in my choice of color for the rest of her face.

Step three

That dark area on her neck was just screaming at me to come next. I continued to contour her entire face and neck with yellow ocher and blush pink. I used henna to bring out her nostrils.

You can see that I am starting to contour the areas around her nose and up the center of her nose. Again with blush pink.

Through all of this I am using a #1 stroke. Very very light. Around her nose where I have begun contour her cheek folds and dimples I have taken the pressure up to about a #3.

Under her chin I have gone up the value scale to level 4 using goldenrod.

Next step

After using my value finder I decided I needed to deepen her skin tone so I covered her entire face with deco pink.

I have also started to contour her face a bit with Jasmine.

I used peach to define her nose a bit.

August 2009 CP Class

This is basically where I left off in class yesterday. I have done a bit to Rachel's hair by darkening it with light umber on the left side. I have added some burnt ocher to both sides.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

No I didn't fall off the edge of the earth!!

But we did spend six weeks away! We drove out to California to spend time with our son and family. The goal was to spoil them so much they wouldn't want us to leave. Mission accomplished Evan asked us why we couldn't stay longer when it was time to head back east!

Before we left I tore my studio apart and started painting it. So that needed to be finished when we got back. Also I wanted my very dark carpet out to get more light in the room. Sooo a visit to Lumber Liquidators and a week later I had a nice new LIGHT floor! Lots of work. The next project was to paint our windows on the outside. After 13 years in this house it is starting to look a little tired and then there's our daughter's wedding in June. We needed the sprucing up!

During rest breaks I was able to do these two paintings of my grand nieces using Ampersand Pastel board as the support.

Noelle admiring her white flower girl dress was done on white pastel board. Perky little Madie is on tan. Both colors worked for different reasons.

It was easy to render Madie's skin tones on the tan. There's a lot of skin in that close up so the tan really worked. A white support made it easier to create the white in Noelle's dress. So I guess what determines the color of the pastel board to be used is what the predominate color of the finished work will be.

Noelle's white dress was a challenge. I wanted to both capture the sheer fabric as well as render a believable white. It turns out white is not white if you really look at it. There's lots of color in it! I didn't want to use grays to contour the fabric. I would have ended up with a dreary looking white. Using my lightest value pencils I layered the complementary colors grayed lavender and cream created believable fabric folds and lively grays. I blended using white and cool grays ranging from 10% to 30%. I am really happy with the result.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Janet's Nova Scotia Tolling Retrievers

When my email friend Janet sent me this photo I begged her to let me paint it. I started it last November. Life got in the way along with all the bustle of the Season. I finally got it finished last week.

I hope now that it is a new year I will have more time to paint.

This one is a combo of watercolor under painting for the back ground and wood. The dogs are all colored pencil. And the detail of the wood is CP.