Friday, October 22, 2010

More Portraits

Here is a portrait that I am still working on--or will work on when I get a chance. Sigh. I'm in the middle of the term, and man.

I do like this painting. It's from a photograph, as usual, taken of my wife and son when Noah was about three months old, I think--half as old as he is now. Wow.

What needs to happen in the painting is a lot of growth in color intensity, deepening of shadows, increase of contrast. I am a wimp when it comes to putting paint on the damn page, and I think I am especially a wimp about that when I am painting skin. I sort of refuse to get it that even "white" skin is very far from white--it is closer to the darker end of the value end than to the light end. But then you have the next problem: what the hell color IS skin?

Usually I make skin tones with a mix of burnt umber, yellow ochre, and reds, either pale or crimson. These colors make good tones but never exactly the right tones. It's very, very hard to capture exactly the right skin tone. Darker skin, like my son's, is easier, I have to say. More umber, darkened with blue or lightened with ochre, does a pretty good job. A mixed "white" skin tone, by contrast, often seems to include many, many tones, and it's hard to find the dominant tone to form a base.

Anyway, I do like this piece, and I look forward to working on it more.