Living Proof

Living Proof

…that the more you paint the better you paint. Today was my second day in a row to spend hours in the studio, just painting. It helped that my friend Roz came to paint with me. You might think that would be distracting, and it is at first, while we chat and catch up on what’s happening in our lives. But once we get started we’re all business. Focused, quiet, with a short break for lunch (hers – brought from home healthy food; mine – anything I can buy at one of the takeout places nearby), then back to the easels.

Today I think I brought the younger boys face totally into focus, reshaped his hair, and worked on his ears. Cadmium red medium is the magic clor here, as it is perfect for those places where blood tends to gather and make things pink: tips of earlobes and that almost see-through inside of the ear; tip of the nose, fingertips – I guess “tips” is the common denominator. Lots of varied flesh tones (more yellow or more pink) mixed with ultramarine blue and alizarin crimson for the shadows. Here’s the pallet I put out for this phase of the paintings:

I always put out all my normal palette colors at every session, plus any special colors I need for the particular painting I’m working on. That way I have all available – I never know when I’m going to need, say, sap green for a weird shadow.

The flesh tones above comprise lemon yellow and alizarin crimson, mixed in a variety of ratios, plus white. The shadow mixture is alizarin crimson and ultramarine blue, also in a variety of ratios, with a little raw sienna on the side for mixing. The brown is a mixture of alizarin crimson and sap green, again, a range of ratios from reddish-brown to greenish-brown, with raw sienna on the side.

99% of all my figures are painted with these three mixtures. The one exception is hair, which needs its own mix depending on the color.

Here’s the result of today’s work:

If you look closely you’ll see more blending, added shadows on the left of his face, and a different shape to his hair, which still needs work. But for now I think I’m done with his face. I may come back to it when the rest of the painting is a bit more finished but for now I like what I’m seeing.

An interesting thing to note – while I was painting him today I kept grinning at him. I guess I’m at the place where he’s alive to me, and that’s a satisfying place to be.

3 thoughts on “Living Proof

  1. Kathy Paul

    The first thing I did was grin, too!! His eyes have changed – maybe it’s the blending, I don’t know. But they are alive and lively and LOVELY!

  2. Janet

    I just want to grab this cutie, pinch (gently!) his darling little cheeks, and tousle his adorable head of hair. I don’t know what he looks like in real life, but who wouldn’t love this portrait?

    1. Lou Ann Street

      I look at these and I see genuis, pure genius. How in the world do you get a stroke of shadow here and a highlight there to actually capture the essence of the person? So much intense work…and I LOVE it! Reading your blogs keeps me inspired. I have started over on my grandson’s precious face 4 times now…and one thing I have discovered is that I can start from scratch and reproduce something at least as good as I did before.
      Thanks for your support and inspiration! Lou Ann


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