Some interesting stuff about color

Back again, after a few months’ hiatus! And it’s nice to be back!

“Ray Bans” 6×6″ oil on Gessobord. Thanks to Lena Dementieva of dA (alas, now a defunct account) for the stock photo I used as reference!

So anyway, this post is going to be an attempt (just an attempt, mind you) to explain a few of the intricacies of color, and in particular, color with the portrait. Continue reading Some interesting stuff about color

More on painting & drawing from life

“Matthias, Painted from Life” 8×10″ oil on canvas panel

I thought I’d pontificate a bit more about working (drawing, painting) from life, and express what it’s like (and why it’s important) on an emotional level.

Working from life (having a model sit in front of you) is “harder” (you have to be quicker, you have to transfer the 3-D model to the 2-D canvas or paper). But it’s also more real. There’s a connection with your model and your surroundings that isn’t there when you work from a photo.

You see the model as they are to you, not as what the camera says they are. Continue reading More on painting & drawing from life

More on the Limited Palette: ZORN

Oh my, I’ve not updated this blog in a little over a year! I’ve been bad!

Well, I’m going to try to be more steadfast in updating this blog, because there’s always a lot of neato arty stuff to talk about.

In this post, I’m going to explore the “limited palette,” aka the ZORN PALETTE, a little more. (NOTE: This limited palette exercise can be used with any paints: Oils, acrylics, watercolors, gouache.)

“Piercing Gaze,” 6×8″ oil on linen. Thanks to Stockingbird on DeviantArt for the stock photo I used as reference.

This painting was done using only four colors! They are:

  • White (Titanium-Zinc White, or Titanium White)
  • Yellow Ochre
  • Cadmium Red Light
  • Ivory Black

Continue reading More on the Limited Palette: ZORN

Oil painting primer, getting started with a limited palette

I was editing the main (circa 2002) tutorial pages on portrait-artist.org, and came to the oil painting page. And froze! There is waaaaay too much I want to say about oil painting! I can’t do it in just one page.

So I’m going to start a series of posts here about oil painting, then will link to them from main site.

GETTING STARTED WITH OIL PAINTING

I started painting when I was a kid, still in middle school. It’s not that hard or scary. If it were, I would have never kept with it. (Hey! I was just a kid!) So if you’ve heard that oil painting is complex, or “scary,” don’t believe it. Yes there are “rules,” yes, there are things you need to know. But you can do it. And the rewards are wonderful!

First I’m going to tell you a bit about oil paints, set you up with what to buy. (Just the barebones.) Then I’ll tell you more about the painting I’m showing here, and its significance.

Emo Guy, oil on 5×4 inch canvas panel. Thanks to XXMAUROXX for the use of his stock photo for reference.

DISPELLING SOME MYTHS ABOUT OIL PAINTING:

“It’s so nasty and toxic!” 

No, not that much more than acrylics. Both oils and acrylics use some pigments (like cobalt and cadmium) that must be handled with care. Oils do often need to be thinned with paint thinner or mineral spirits. But some of these thinners are pretty mild and will work fine with reasonable care. Or you can work around using them, by getting a completely non-toxic solvent/thinner. (I recommend it later in this post.)

“It takes weeks and weeks to dry!”

If you paint thickly, live in a humid area, and use some painting medium that slows drying, yeah, I guess so. But if you don’t paint too thickly (most of us don’t) and use a painting medium which accelerates drying, usually the paint is dry to the touch overnight (or within 24 hours). That’s usually how it works for me.

“They’re so hard to learn!”

Not any harder than acrylics, really. And oils are more forgiving, easier to blend, and richer. But that’s not to say that there’s anything wrong with acrylics. They have their charms too.


Continue reading Oil painting primer, getting started with a limited palette