I needed to do the self portrait for Nov 1st a little early this year, since there's family stuff to take care of in the next few days. Here it is, along with a picture of the underpainting.
last piece is amazing man details are stuning
please visit my page and help me.
Marian, Ludic and weashell, thanks!
I decided to to another self portrait, since doing one early is technically cheating . I don't like this one as much as the old one, kind of boring. I mainly wanted to try out Sargent's method of head painting, which involves scrubbing in a middle tone and then "sculpting" the head with paint. You don't draw the features in until the very end- you're basically trying to nail the structure of the head, from large planes to small, so that by the end you've created the space for the features to fit into exactly. Ideally, the likeness of the person should be there before you ever draw the eyes or mouth or anything else. Takes a whole lot of concentration.
Amazing work I love the colours in the girl with the robot arm especially and the mood of before the mountain. Inspiring stuff!
love the oil painting at the top of the little garden and the last one for the story book looks really nice too. Im not sure what it is maybe its because im used to looking at all your amazing work but i feel like the portraits are missing something. Mainly in the second one, i think it might be that the shadows arent as strong, its still good though
Logistic puppet: Thank you!
prsnsweeney: Thanks man! You're absolutely right about those portraits, they've been bugging me too. I don't know if it's that the paint was too loaded and they need another layer, but the shadows got way too muddy and I couldn't get accents into them at the end. I suspect that it's because on the whole, too much of the paintings went too dark way too fast. More practice!
So I've been asked about my painting process a few times. I figured I'd share the steps for the one I'm working on now. As I've said before, I use a different process depending on the painting, this is just one approach. Wall of text ensues.
This is a double portrait of my parents that I'm working on, I did the underpainting earlier tonight. It's 24X30" on canvas. Before getting to the painting, I did a small pencil sketch from my photo reference so that I could plan out the large shapes, working in 3 main values. This also helps nail the positioning beforehand.
Using the sketch and reference, I then started drawing on the lightly-oiled canvas directly in paint, first marking off the major angles and shapes and then getting a little more detailed as I went along. I use no white at this stage, just transparent paint to draw in the darks and middle tones. I'm using mixtures of transparent oxide red and a little ultramarine. It's mostly monochrome right now, but using the two paints allows for slight temperature variations when I want them- I wanted the shadows in the white cloth to be a bit cooler, for instance. My mom's wearing a bright red sari, so over there I used the oxide red by itself.
I'm being careful to only paint the major light and shadow shapes, especially on the faces. I want to avoid drawing the features in, relying instead on shadow shapes and major head structure to get the likenesses. The features should fall into place later if those are accurate.
I'm also trying to stay fairly loose with the brushwork. Especially this early, I don't want to get so tight that I paint the life out of it. The sari is actually a little too tight for my liking, but I didn't want to chance it, since I'll need to deal with patterning and very saturated color there later.
With the underpainting done, the major drawing and value pattern is already in place for when I get into the actual paint layer. You can go as far as you need to with the underpainting- the idea is to solve problems so that the later stages are easier. I could have taken the faces to a very high level of realism, and sometimes I do, but for this piece I want to try to tackle the finer points of the drawing as I go. We'll see how it works out.
Hey Sidharth that's really interesting and helpful as I've only just started with painting and oils. I shall have to remember your good idea of using a cool and warm for the under painting. I'm still struggling to see shadow shapes and values but it's good to see how much of a likeness you have already acheived at this stage. Can I ask do you let this under painting dry before carrying on?a
Marian: Thanks ! The warm/cool thing is fun, although I wouldn't focus too much on it if you're training to see the shadow shapes. Focus on drawing and values, they're much more important for now! I got back to work on it today and the underpainting was still wet. It doesn't seem to matter much if you're using a warm underpainting, so long as you try to predict the color mixing. Which I'm not so good at... heh.
On that note, anybody who's reading this, do keep in mind that I'm still kind of noob at this, so I'm very much still trying to figure things out. I'm going to be talking about all the mistakes I'm making, as you're about to see.
I've now moved to my full palette, which is Titanium white, yellow ochre, cad red light, terra rosa, quinacridone red, ultramarine blue, prussian blue, and ivory black. Normally I'd also have phthalo green YS there, but like an idiot I left my tube in the US...
To start out, I put down some cool strokes over the background so that I'd have something to judge the skin against. I deliberately overlapped the brushstrokes over the hair, and then painted the hair back into it so I could get the edges I wanted right away. You want to paint strokes into each other, not walk them up to each other, or you get a mess of hard edges. The hair ended up a little too light, so it'll take some glazing later.
Once that was done, I laid down a thin middle tone over the shadows and lights on my dad's face. I'm experimenting with the approach I've read about in notes about Sargent. The idea is to start painting the large planes of the head into it, and slowly work your way to the smaller planes and more detail, creating the space for the features to fall into and not painting them in too fast. You're also supposed to avoid putting accents anywhere until the end, so you can make sure they're accurately placed.
This is the ideal... my dad's face was actually going quite well until I got impatient and painted his eyes. Then the whole thing went to hell and I lost the likeness. He's also more yellow than this in life. It'll require some glazing and repainting to fix when it's dry. Learn from this- don't be in a hurry. The Sargent notes say if you paint a head for a week without painting the features, you've learned something about head structure. I started painting the features about 2 hours in .
Anyway, after that I painted my mom's face. I also moved way too fast there, but the likeness and colors are better and don't need as much correcting. The main problem now is a little more subtle. I treated the edges much more softly, because I tend to chicken out when painting women's faces and don't want to make them harsh. It's early to tell, but to me it feels like her head is out of sync with the rest of the painting. The marks don't work together well, they're speaking a different language than the ones on my dad's face. I'll need to keep this in mind moving forward, when the next paint later is added.
A final point: in the notes, Sargent said never to paint friends, because you'll be too concerned with the likeness and won't focus on the structure. This is irritatingly true .
nice portrait, also keep up more arts
Marian: Thanks! I'm glad this is somewhat helpful .
After taking the pictures yesterday, I scraped down most of what I'd done on the faces. Keep in mind that this doesn't erase anything most of the time, it just takes off the excess paint and lets more of the canvas show through. I know I'll be repainting those areas so I don't want the thick paint to interfere later. I also wiped off the eyes because those were doing the most to ruin the likenesses (due to rushing) and will need to be redone. Much. More. Carefully.
I spent today working on the clothes. There's not much process to show, just worked dark to light on both of them and stayed fairly loose. The pattern on the sari is very loose and just painted into the wet, red base. The most time was actually spent working on mom's hand. The lighting in the photo reference isn't that good as far as revealing form, and I was trying too hard to copy all the shadows and modeling exactly. That's not always a good idea with hands, if the structure in the reference isn't clearly visible, which it wasn't here. After repainting 4 or 5 times I went looking at Sargent hands. They're very simply done. Deceptively so. The structure of his hands is impeccable, but there isn't any more detail than there needs to be in them, just the simple, LARGE planes and enough modeling to show the basic structure and position. No detailed knuckles and veins and bumps, especially on women. With that in mind, I went back to my painting and nailed the hand in about 15 minutes. It'll take some more work, but it no longer looks like a squishy mess. Then I moved on to my dad's hand. It's okay, but I want to show more of the bony structure so I'll be taking separate reference for later.
Sid - That painting is looking expressive. Thanks for sharing the process with the community. I know I'm finding it educational and interesting. My only crit is that I find the shadow on the background (right hand side) a little distracting. I would consider making the color of that shadow more neutral and the value less dark.
"A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step." -- Confucius
Purplegoat: Thanks! The shadow was going to be painted over, just hadn't gotten to it. Thanks for the crit though, it's always appreciated!
So, update on the portrait. Once the scraped down layer of my dad's face was dry, I glazed over the hair to deepen the black, glazed the shadow areas of the face, and then started repainting the face. Once again, I tried paying attention to bigger plains first. I also hit it with more saturated reds (I try to stay away from my cad scarlet until I absolutely need it, since it goes haywire on me quickly). Then I worked some cooler gray-greens into some of the transitions and areas of the beard, to counter the bright reds and bring some of the background color in. Since I'm working from photo, I need to use past life-painting experience to fill in, since photos are wholly unreliable for color information.
Once all that was done, I painted in some of the cool highlights and deepened some of the darks, especially in the eye sockets. With all that done, the face was looking fairly patchy but it had the information I wanted, so I went to the scary step. Using a larger brush, I applied larger strokes again to the major planes, obliterating some of the modeling I'd done... and simplifying in the process. I'm happy with how his face looks now, although I may work on the shadow transitions some more when it's dry.
I also put a glaze of ultramarine over the background to darken it, and to emphasize more of the color in my dad's face. He was complaining that i made him too gray (I didn't... oh well). Finally, I moved back to mom's face... which I ended up repainting around 6 times. I'm still not happy with it- it doesn't have the more structural look that my dad's face does and the brushmarks aren't as visible, I ended up having to do a lot of blending again. The eyes also just would not come out right. I was having trouble with the lips for a long time, but again, looking at Sargent for solutions provided an answer (don't make em so friggin' dark). There are still some drawing problems to take care of as well. If I can help it, I'm never doing a smiling portrait again >_<.
Anyway, I touched up other areas like the hands and then finally set it aside. There's more to do, I'll post when there's something to show.
It's a really nice painting Sid. I know you are not happy with your Mom's face but I can't help think that with a female you would want a softer less brush mark feel to it? Of course this might just be personal taste. Painting and drawing our loved ones, I think, is hardest of all as we know them so well.
woow! that painting is very professionally handled
please visit my page and help me.
Im very impressed with your travel sketches sid, this being my favourite.
Your sketchbook is like eating a bag of skittles, each post a different flavor but all of them so good. It's really cool to see your oil paintings with your environments and your pencil work and each of them display such great skill.
Definitely subscribing to your thread now! Can't wait for future updates!
Hey Sid, great sketchbook, I've been flicking through and you have some very inspiring paintings. I particulary like this image. I love nice clean images with negative space used like this. Also that latest environment is awsome.
Fantastic sketchbook, look forward to seeing more.