Thursday, May 31, 2007

Getting paint on the canvas

Well, I decided I'd go ahead and make some decisons and get some paint on the canvas to get me going.

Yesterday I attended an on line live chat with artist Dawn Whitelaw sponsored by The American Artist Magazine that was very helpful to get me going with this portrait. During the chat she answered a couple of general questions and then sent me a nice follow up email.

Advice from the chat: Dawn Whitelaw
Phyllis, if you know the sitter it always brings something else to the ptg. If you don't know the person,
you have to make an assessment about them in a short time. With children you have to imagine who they will be in the
future. There will be characteristics that are inherent, you get a sense of what they are going to look like when they are
older. Look at the parents or the siblings. you want to get the characterstics of them that will stay as they age.

Advice from email: Dawn Whitelaw

Here are my suggestions for the portrait of your grand daughter. Remember that they are suggestions. All I can tell you is what I would do. The ultimate decision is yours. I would keep the background very simple.I am attaching two roughly done ideas. Because the light on the subject and the background is different, you run the risk of having the figure looking "cut out." To help prevent this, some light needs to travel into the background. I lightened the sides of the columns and enlarged them a little bit. I would eliminate the fence, and buildings in the background. . I brought some more white flowers in to the big pot. The flowers in the background could be left in to echo the flowers in the front. I would not add more pots of flowers in the front. On her face, keep the creases under her cheeks warm and lighter than the photo reference. I also lightened some of the foliage in the pot behind her hair. I would love to see your results. Good Luck

Thought process: Make the background fuzzy, only have one plant, increase the size of the columns. Find a way to fill the right side of the canvas without taking the focus off Carley Ann,

Mistakes: I think Carley Ann should have been closer to the center of the canvas. I also think I should not have used that black pastel to block in my drawing. I'm going to use some sealer to help get rid of the pastel dust, but I don't think it will help that much. I may have to put several layers of paint on the canvas to get rid of all that black and get her skin color right.

Friday, May 25, 2007



Advice from Thomas Booker Poole:

Nice Phyllis! Now remember, "less is more", and stay away from too much defintion in Carly's've done a very good job with her eyes....soften her cheeks...try to avoid the temptation to draw strong lines...soften her mouth area.....the purpose of doing all of this is to "transition" this thought process into your painting. 85-90% of a person's likeness is "in the eyes"....and you are more than almost there.

face close up

Beginning a Portrait

First time trying to do a portrait. Hopefully this will look like Carley Ann Franklin Angel.
30x40 canvas

Painting tip from my friend Booker Thomas Poole.

Phyllis, here's some things to keep in mind when doing children's portraits. First and foremost, be mindful of what kind of canvas that you use when painting portraits-especially children. I use Fredrix Style 589 Portrait Canvas for all of my portraits---it's a smoother canvas--excellent for the softness of a child's face. Keep in mind the softness of Carly's face-(what a wonderful face! )--Keep in mind the expressiveness of her eyes--the "softness" of her facial features. When you finally start to paint her--remember "less is more"---use color and highlights to emphasize features on her face. (will illustrate this evening) Today, once you are comfortable with drawing her-transfer her to the canvas using the grid--NO PAINTING YET...only concern yourself with making sure that she is "rendered well"---drawn well on the canvas--that the composition is what you desire---study the her tones--lights and darks---study the relationship of her AND the background...become very familiar with the overall composition---make sure that it's placed where you want it on the thought is that you'll spend the day making sure that she is drawn as best that you can---if she is a well-rendered drawing, then she shall be a well-rendered painting!!!! Looking forward to this evening, and I'll check in at some point today!!!! By the way, I like your first sketch....remember that her eyes are her best feature---keep them soft...keep the propotioned in relation to her face...not too large.....

Tuesday, May 08, 2007