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Thread: Sunday Portrait

  1. #1
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    Sunday Portrait

    Insert: The finished piece is posted here.

    Original Post:

    Okay, I'm hanging myself.

    Here's where I am at 12:30pm Sunday, March 21, 2004.

    Sunday Portrait

    11 x 14 (US inches), blank, stretched, acrylic primed, Classens Belgium linen #166. ready to paint.

    I will be doing a commissioned portrait, and will post pictures here at every hour, or every major new step.

    If I don't finish today, it'll have to wait until I get back from being ut of town. We're leaving at 4:00am Monday and returning Thursday.

    --David

    Last edited by drdarrow; September 16th, 2007 at 11:45 AM. Reason: misspelling: "Belgium"
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  3. #2
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    Oops, not ready to paint!

    I haven't squeezed out my paints yet...

    Sunday Portrait

    But the drawing is done... I have to re-shoot it. It was shake-blurred. Back in a few minutes.

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  4. #3
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    The Charcoal Sketch

    Here's the sketch. 1:06PM

    Sunday Portrait

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    Start Painting!

    It takes forever, it seems, to start a painting.

    I finally get my glass palette cleaned with Windex, and lay out my paints. Most of the colors are MGraham walnut oils—pigments mixed with walnut oil. The other colors are Winsor-Newton. My Medium is only MGraham Walnut Alkyd.

    Sunday Portrait

    I can't find my usual "value finder" so I make a new one. I look through the hole to compare values and hues and compare them to the neutral gray of the card.

    I use White, Payne's Gray, Ult. Marine Blue, and Burnt Umber to make a nice neutral gray. (Sorry about the car grease under the thumbnail... I replaced a brake cylinder on my car yesterday, and I can't get that out!)

    Sunday Portrait

    And finally at 1:37pm, I begin to paint. 10 minutes later I stop and shoot this photo.

    Sunday Portrait

    Last edited by drdarrow; September 16th, 2007 at 11:46 AM.
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    Awesome thread! Keep it updated with LOTS of pics. WE can learn alot from this!

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    Changing colors

    I realize I am getting distracted by color, and it's critical to get the values right. So I start graying everything down, and concentrating on value. 2:25pm

    Sunday Portrait

    I am also losing my drawing, so the shapes of my values are equaly critical. It's beginning to be like building an abstract, jointless jigsaw puzzle.

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    Lunch Break

    My wife showed up with two Carl's Jr. Low Carb "Six Dollar Burgers"—the ones with lettuce replacing the buns, so I break here, at 2:56pm.

    Sunday Portrait

    Now it's back to painting at 3:16pm.

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  9. #8
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    Well, some other things came up, and I didn't get back to painting until 10 or 15 minutes later, here's where I was when I snapped the shot at 4:00pm

    Sunday Portrait

    I lay in some darks (hair) and get a bit done in her eyes and nose... I'm honing in on those, but will leave ALL details until the end.

    With my values more established, I can now adjust color, as long as I am reserved with my intensities— making sure any color I place is the same value as the area I am putting it in. I also go more gray as the form turns away from me, and reserve intensity for planes that are facing me, in the midtones.

    I keep soft edges everywhere on purpose.

    I gray-down every color that comes out of the tube[s].

    I will sharpen up only those places/edges that need it for "focus" later.

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    Oops!

    <sigh>

    I reached up to move my maul stick and accidentally dragged my brush through the eye.

    Setbacks are frustrating.

    So laugh them off.

    Sunday Portrait

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  11. #10
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    5:15pm

    Fixed the eye and started painting more of the bigger stuff.

    Sunday Portrait

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    :cool:

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    7:30pm

    No, I have not just been painting all day. Had dinner and did a little tidying, and whatnot... but were's where I am at.

    Dunno if I'll be able to do a lot more tonight. I'd kinda like for the paint to set up a little... Walnut oil—even Walnut Alkyd—makes it dry slower than linseed, so it's all pretty fresh still, 7 hours later.

    Still, there's the hand I could paint.

    But I also need to pack for my trip.

    Sunday Portrait

    Sunday Portrait

    To jump to the finished piece, skipping a month's worth of chit-chat postings, click here.

    Last edited by drdarrow; September 16th, 2007 at 11:48 AM. Reason: misspelling
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    I forgot to mention:

    I wash my brushes in Canola Oil to flood the paint out, and wipe them hard with a terrycloth rag until the fibers are clean.

    I mix Walnut Alkyd in my tube paints, though, for the most part, MGraham Walnut based oil paints are pretty buttery as-is.

    At the end of the day, I'll give all my brushes a thorough Canola Oil "Squeeze Bath" and then wash them out at the kitchen sink in Dawn and let them dry before using them again.

    It's the safest way I know of to paint. All natural.

    Be careful if you try washing brushes with Canola. You don't want to leave 'loose oil' in the bristles when you paint because it's not a drying oil. A little on the fibers is okay, hoever, and doesn't prevent the paint you mix from drying.

    Last edited by drdarrow; September 16th, 2007 at 11:50 AM.
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  15. #14
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    Yeah...

    I'm going to stop for the night. I'll resume when I get back Friday or Saturday.

    Too much to do, and 4:00am comes at, like, 3 in the morning.

    --David

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    David thanks for showing this step by step process, its always awesome to see. That value finder is a really cool idea. I've never painted so I don't know if thats just a normal thing that most painters do or not.

    She has a lot of character, i love the cocky look she has. I'm assuming this is from a photo since what kid would ever want to pose for this length of time?

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  17. #16
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    Very inspiring thread! I have a couple of questions.
    Is it better to use Canola oil to clean your brushes instead of turpentine? Is it mainly for health reasons.

    How is walnut oil paints different than the other type of oil paints like Windsor and Newton or Grumbacher? Where do you purchase them? I may want to try them out.

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    YES!!! so great to see your process. gather round kiddies! this is how its really done.thank you so much for taking the time to do this. this type of info is invaluable. i cant wait to see the finish. you have some great marks going on in there!-c36

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  19. #18
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    Originally posted by negativespace
    Is it better to use Canola oil to clean your brushes instead of turpentine? Is it mainly for health reasons.
    It is for health reasons. And I like the whole idea of using edible products in my paintings. I don't eat them, but if there is no great reason to use dangersous stuff, why do it? My 76 year old dad has recently been diagnosed with Stage D prostate cancer, my mom survived colon cancer, and my oldest sister survived breast cancer. Though I am okay, you get to 47 and life seems a little more precious. I wish I'd had that attitude earlier in life, but like most young men, I thought I was invincible.
    How is walnut oil paints different than the other type of oil paints like Windsor and Newton or Grumbacher? Where do you purchase them? I may want to try them out.
    I fiind them to be nicely buttery from color to color. Pigment is nice and strong and they hold strokes fine.

    I am jacking in from a hotel room at 56k in Salt Lake City, using a laptop PC, so I won't be here long tonight. I am glad you guys are enjoying it. I am anxious to get back home and finish the painting.

    I am here to perform in a Novell Convention my unique talent for Balancing Rocks... you gotta do what you gotta do. ;-)

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  20. #19
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    thanks for the demo... i love watching how other artists work.

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  21. #20
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    same thing here - big thank you for the time put in the demo, it's inspirational. cheers

    www.beetart.com
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    You shoulda told me you're in SLC, we coulda met and said hi!

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    nice demo. Who was your main instructor with painting so far? Interesting approach with the gray first. I like the end result, it helps keep great control of the middle tones, the forebidden value range...heh


    Thanks for sharing the process, this is nice work.


    Ron

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  24. #23
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    Originally posted by DragonGX
    You shoulda told me you're in SLC, we coulda met and said hi!
    Sorry! I didn't know anything about Utah, as far as what cities are close together... My wife and I are having a great time. The weather here is incredible.

    Anyone who's interested can read about my SLC trip on my blog for Tuesday March 23, 2004. I'm sure I'll write more later today.

    Sorry I missed you...er... Dragon.

    Last edited by drdarrow; September 16th, 2007 at 11:53 AM. Reason: Added direct link to blog entry.
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  25. #24
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    Originally posted by fredflickstone
    Who was your main instructor with painting so far? Interesting approach with the gray first. I like the end result, it helps keep great control of the middle tones, the forebidden value range...heh
    Thanks, Ron.

    I haven't had any painting instructor in 25 years. I was an Art Center grad in 1980, and focused on Photorealism with an airbrush, much to everyone's concern there.

    However, I have to pass on a load of gratitude to my good friend since 1989, Morgan Weistling, who is in my opinion one of the most amazing painters I have ever seen. My friendship with him has allowed for otherwise annoying questions, pesky details and why-did-you-do-thats--he's been incredibly patient, and helpful. I have had the good fortune of being able to sit one-on-one with him watching him paint from a blank canvas to near finish... he paints with intimidating speed and accuracy. So, even without having actually taken classes or instruction from him, it would be wrong to say he hasn't been my teacher. I have learned so much from him, studying his work, his brushwork, his edges, his values...

    He's the one who suggested to me the idea of keeping things gray and saving the color for the right areas...

    Where we differ is that he has the eyes and skill to mix the right grayed color to start with, and I still tend to get too colorful, sometimes and have to backtrack and gray it down, adding more intense color later. It's taken me years to get away from my old habit of starting flesh tones with an underpainting of Burnt Sienna, and then ending up with Coppertone Orange faces...

    Morgan Weistling. He's my teacher.

    Last edited by drdarrow; September 16th, 2007 at 11:55 AM.
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    I love this thread, its so cool to see how someone who is so good and so experienced in painting, works. Though, I have a couple questions if you don't mind me asking them:

    1) In your painting, I see brush-strokes that go in all different directions, especially in the background. Is there a concious objective to this? Or do you just place strokes where you think they should go?

    2) I'm pretty sure that the portrait is of a real person, but I'm wondering if you have a photo of the girl to use as reference for the colors?

    By the way, is there anyway you could post a picture of the girl so that we could compare the picture to your painting? I think it would give us a little more insight on your process (Not that you haven't already givin us tons of insight. I'm just really curious about this type of stuff.)

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    incredible!!

    Hi,

    Its nice to see how u work. Thanks for sharing all that valuable info!

    I have a question though. I checked out that link you gave of Morgan Weistling.
    There are some amazing paintings on his site and i checked out the demo section.
    I was wondering if he uses any reference. Because if he is not, then that guy is the most amazing painter i've ever seen!!!!!! Not sketching his work and start painting right away like that is amazing!! Not to mention the result !!

    I wouldnt be able to get a result like that if i was painting on top of a picture!!!!

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  28. #27
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    Originally posted by AnarchyAo2
    1) In your painting, I see brush-strokes that go in all different directions, especially in the background. Is there a concious objective to this? Or do you just place strokes where you think they should go?
    A little of both. I am making artistic judgements as to the final look of the strokes and their shape, direction and value and hue, but to say they are individually placed would be incorrect.

    Just like a person can work on improving their handwriting by forming letters slowly at first and learning the movements (training your muscle memory), one can also develop a brush calligraphy... a style of brush work that is an extension of ones mind and nervous system. To the degree I have worked slowly to develop brushwork in general, it is intentional; beyond that, it is artistically accidental.

    2) I'm pretty sure that the portrait is of a real person, but I'm wondering if you have a photo of the girl to use as reference for the colors?

    By the way, is there anyway you could post a picture of the girl...
    If by "real person" you mean "she is physically posing for me " -- no. With children you cannot expect them to sit for ANYTHING. The photos I shot were difficult enough to get. She's six, and it is universally impossible for normal children to sit for longer than .37 seconds.

    I am painting from a 3.3 megapixel digital photo, shot from a tripod in natural, north window light, and displayed on a 15" laptop LCD flat panel monitor. The zooming in and out capabilities of a digital image make it great for seeing an overall image (for larger value decisions) and zooming in close (equivalent to leaning toward a model sitting for a painting).

    My camera is a Nikon Coolpix 995.

    I do not have permission to display the child's photo. I apologize.

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  29. #28
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    great demo!
    thanks for sharing this, im sure im not the only one soaking this up!

    and thanks for linking Morgan Weistling's page, ive been sitting here at work drooling for the past 30 mintues looking over his paintings...absolutely amazing.

    i hope your trip went well!

    -------
    I wont fail now
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    Re: incredible!!

    Originally posted by toram
    I was wondering if [Morgan Weistling] uses any reference. Because if he [does] not, then that guy is the most amazing painter I've ever seen!!!!!! Not sketching his work and start painting right away like that is amazing!! Not to mention the result!
    Morgan is simply amazing. I cannot comment on his use of reference or not. I can't imagine ANYONE can paint without something to refer to.

    Look at his pictures from his 2003 workshop for a little more insight into how he paints.

    Last edited by drdarrow; September 16th, 2007 at 11:59 AM. Reason: Edited an old link
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  31. #30
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    hmm interesting.. i didnt know Wiestling starts with a gray undertone.. good to know.. gives me some nice insight into his method..

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