Tuesday, August 9, 2011

The human figure

Probably one of my most challenging things to paint is a human being and more specifically faces.

It has always given me trouble. I have never really nail a likeness. Oh it ends up looking like a person and relatively non-deformed and I get the proportions mostly correct. But making the picture look like the particular person in question? So difficult and not something I have not gotten the hang of yet. So I was a little nervous (okay kinda panicked) when my teacher said that this week we'd be having a clothed figure.

(I apologize in advance for not asking this model if I could publish a picture of her sitting on this blog). The picture I took of the actual model is pretty much garbage for trying to work with on my own. The printout I made came out horrible. I may be able to use it for basic corrections though. Next time I may bring my actual camera to class and perhaps photograph the model from various angles. There was a view on the other side of the room where the light glinted beautifully off a necklace she was wearing but once she put her hair up in the pony tail, I decided that this was the view I wanted. There's also a great quality to the light on her face at this angle. She is a lovely young woman. There's almost a graceful elegance to her face. And I really admire her being able to sit still like that even at 20 minute intervals with 5 minute breaks in between.

I have been reading that book by Richard Schmid and have found a lot of his painting advice to be very helpful. I think one of the best things he keeps saying is the concept of slowing down and thinking and rethinking and considering and taking a step back. Those are probably the two most biggest things I need to do. I need to stop the autopilot and think and be more careful about how I'm painting rather than trying to just churn something out. I also really need to stop staying so glued to my canvas. I need to start stepping back and considering my work more.

This is the result. As a starting? I think it's getting off great. I am a little nervous that I didn't flesh out any of the actual skin tones since I will only have two more chances for this but I really wanted to concentrate more on the actual drawing and values. I even ran out of time with just that. The shoulder looks extremely wrong since I didn't get a chance to put in the values for the sleeveless dress she was wearing. Honestly, I'm not too worried about capturing this particular model's likeness or face. It would really more be a bonus to me. I more want to get the pose right. I can already see that in the set of the shoulders, you can tell she's sitting slightly off angle, but you can't tell that in the set of her jaw and neck. I can already see several errors in the shapes of the values I placed on her neck and cheek area.

I really was trying to follow Schmid's advice and try to get everything as correct as I possibly could at this particular stage. I am so happy with it at this point. And it's so rare I say something like that!

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