14 February 2009

An oil painting moment

feature slideshow: this is the making of a portrait of Janine

she sat for her portrait as still as can be
I thought you might like to know how it's approached in the Painter house.

Now, I don't use photographs, I either paint what I feel I see in front of me, or I paint intuitively from the imagination & memory. So you will see looseness that can take some squinting at.

Observation & working the oils
It's a piece meal thing. A dib, a dab, looks like nothing but stand back & it has form and life. Approach the canvas, and the illusion is gone again.

We are tricking the eye to move, where there is no movement, just flatness on the canvas board.

Colours are important for this, blues and reds react differently to the retina so I'm told.
So simplistically put, a blue nose won't look prominent nor forward for you, and a red ear will look like it's on the side of the face = too near to you
Well, that's not good is it.

Those Oils we use
The property of oils is a strange one.

It's like coloured tissue paper, like placing one layer of yellow, plus a layer of orange on top. It's transluscent so you can see what's gone before underneath.
You don't get a combination, you get a veil of yellow/orange coming out at you.

Add white, and the colour is opaque.

It also takes weeks or months to dry, years if it's good and thick. That's good for my loose, touchy feely, squishy style, that I manoeuvre and change.

& I paint using only 3 colours, alizarin red, Indian yellow and that deep Prussian blue. Plus that white.

Now my portrait.
I'm a quick painter, building up and up on those layers of colour.
There's no point painting that perfect right eye in one hour. You'll never get the remainder to match, nor meet up with perfection.

You paint the whole as a whole, loose, quick, with absolutely no detail. The detail will evolve
This painting was made over 5 weeks there abouts, one and a half hour sittings. Painting it once, then again, and again.

You will notice Janine changes her top too, fine by me. But some painters go loopy as it affects colouring and those judgments you made at day one. Imagine a film and its continuity issues.
She also dropped more weight as the sessions went on, putting emphasis on the mouth line.

& it's important towards the end, not to neglect the jaw and neck, they are vital. It's all very well straining for a face, without some attention to other areas. You need to make your portrait complete.

Oh! & likeness does not matter.
Janine cuts her own hair, so I put some of that into the painting. As it happens I did get a likeness, but it's not what I am looking for in a picture or while I am working.

The final words are STAND BACK! 3 feet away from the screen for it to do its thing.



Unknown said...

Great to see Janine again Gill! One gets reminded of how good it looks. No it is not too hard. You painted Janine as you perceived her. Elisa

Gill the Painter said...

I presume the slideshow plays OK at your end?
I might pop a couple of paintings onto the blog at various times. I feel as strongly about painting as I do about food.

Unknown said...

I love the fact you are incorporating your painting side with the cooking Gill. It makes for a wonderful blog. I'm looking forward to seeing many more pictures - Janine is still looking good!

Gill the Painter said...

How kind. That confirms it, I shall pop some more on then, with a couple of sketches.

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