Lighting Different

Posted on April 26, 2017

Just a simple alla prima. Trying different skin colors and lighting.

Working on using thicker paint. I will eventually get to nice strokes and heavy application. It is a relatively brief exercise. Wish I could get it under a couple hours of painting time. I guess I take breaks. I would love to make the same painting in 25 or 35 minutes. I am just oddly hesitant half the time. I usually make pretty good color and application decisions if I just let myself go. This time the lighting on the face is bounced from below. It was a nice challenge to stay away from the usual lighting/shading.

In the future I should just do studies of noses, lips and eyes. Should make big versions of them to really focus on getting all the planes correct. On a small panel like this one, I usually don’t want to use small brushes. I want to get a lot done with larger strokes.

These paintings are not meant to be masterpieces. I am really just working on solving basic problems of color, application, mixing, and trying to push myself in a direction or two.

Where am I this week? I am a little confused. I am simply trying to move forward.

The weather has been a bit odd. Maybe the odd weather isn’t unusual for Taos in the Spring, but it is snowing and that is enough to jostle my world.

This week I stood up and painted myself a little portrait. It has been great to get into painting again. I love painting people. I love the contours of the face and watching the strokes build up into something recognizable. Each time I learn a little more about the cues that the mind looks for when identifying what makes up a nose or the roundness of a lip. It is constant discovery and usually a pleasure. There are the constant little mistakes of putting down a color or tone that is not quite right. The little sting in the mind that says, “Wait a second, that is weird.”

The goal at the moment is to put colors down with confidence and with a fully loaded brush. The strategy is to pre mix some base colors for the flesh tones and a separate series of grays. It makes finding the right color and value straightforward. Find the color, then make sure it is light or dark enough. Having the little mounds of color also means that there is enough paint to throw down a thick stroke. It also relieves the tendency to drag the adjacent color and blend like crazy on the canvas to fix mistakes.