Saturday, November 30, 2013

Catch a Glimpse

This is for Virtual Paintout November 2013 Iceland Challenge. It's oil on F3 canvas panel.

Iceland had a lot of beautiful scenaries. However, this shot (ref) caught my eyes more than others because of the strong lighting on the woman's hair compared to the building behind her, as well as the interesting reflection of street scene mixed in with the interior of the store. Is she checking out the lamps inside the store or is she looking at her own reflection? 

Friday, November 1, 2013

Girl with Pearl Earrings

I always wanted to learn how to paint portraits with the "glow" similar to many paintings done by great Renaissance masters. Before I left Hong Kong, I figured the last painting I did at Anastasia Art House was to copy one of the masterpieces, and to learn the process, especially while I still have Oxana looking over my shoulder giving me pointers. I chose Vermeer's Girl with Pearl Earrings exactly because of this "glow" which I wanted to learn to achieve. 

The painting started out with an under painting with black and raw umber. To keep the finishing painting smooth, a very thin layer of paint was applied for under painting. The highlight area of the face is kept light by having very little paint on it. The background color was done at this point.

After the under painting was dried, each successive layer was done by glazing the face, plus painting in both very bright highlights and deepening shadows. At first, I tried to paint in the highlight with white after a layer of glazing. The resulting face was way too chalky from the white. I found the best color to do the highlight is based on Naples yellow. Raw umber works beautifully in this painting, both as a glazing color, and also to help deepen the shadow. Touches of cadmium red help give pinkish tone to the face.

After repeating this glazing / painting layering about 4-5 times, the main tone and color were done. Finally details were put in with smaller brushes and highlights on th headgear and clothing were added. The canvas was about 18x24in. If I were to do a portrait in the future, I will definitely practice this Vermeer type technique again since I really like the resulting glow.