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28 February 2013 @ 05:00 pm
Oil Painting Update  
So last week, when I last wrote about my self-portrait, I had painted in the skin and background but hadn't yet tackled the hair.  Originally, I had wanted to leave the hair very sketchy and unfinished, but after putting some color in I was rapidly coming to the conclusion that unless I scrapped the red background and started over, there was no way that raw canvas with only a few hair outlines would look good.  So on Tuesday, I began the task of adding the hair color.  This is where I left off:

One of the curses of using my iPod to take pictures is that it has a terrible camera.  It completely bleached out all the color from the skin!

As I was working on it, a classmate said that the painting reminded her a bit of Gustav Klimt.  A great compliment, to be sure, since I love that painter, but I admitted that I felt like the skin was too pasty compared to the vivid crimson background and earthy hair.  (The photo above, while accurate, rather supports that claim.)  She said that since people tend to use so much titanium white when mixing skin tones, they have a tendency to create very "chalky" looking people.  She hit the nail on the head - my face looked way too chalky.  So over the course of Tuesday afternoon and Wednesday, I brainstormed ways that I could try to fix this problem.

When I got to class today, the instructor told me that I should  try to make the hair a "little more interesting", perhaps by adding more color.  He did praise the rhythm of the painting, which was nice. I liked the way the orange looks in the upper corner, so I thought that perhaps adding more orange to the hair would help pep it up.  Then, when I turned to the problem of the skin, I decided to use blue in the shadows - not only would this hopefully add some color to the skin, it would be a nice complement to the orange in the hair.  (Color Theory class FTW!)

After glaring at working on the canvas for a couple of hours, this is where we are:

On Tuesday, after this current layer of paint has had time to dry, I'll be adding a some pinks and yellows to the skin to better capture the way light hits the non-shadowed areas; and next Thursday I guess I'll add some white for the really bright areas.  The background is pretty much done, and I think I'm close to finished with the hair - at this point, it's just getting the face to a state that I can live with.
Nechtan Albaflameelf on March 1st, 2013 04:14 pm (UTC)
Looks good so far!

I forgot to pay attention--are you doing oils? Or acrylics?

One thing I can mention to you is that most of us are timid of being too strong in colouring skin. We'll fade it down until it flattens out. Skin requires both dramatic emphasis as well as reflected colours to really come out looking more lifelike. I'm glad you're not afraid of straying from the peach/white/tan colours into blues. Keep your contrasts in mind, too--if you redden the hair, perhaps more green comes out in the skin, etc.

I would like to see more highlights/shine versus darks in the hair, possibly. Remember that you don't have to paint each strand; indicate waves/etc.

But still, really good! Especially when you're coming from dark underpainting!

Grey :)
Suzik00kaburra on March 1st, 2013 11:09 pm (UTC)
It's oil painting. Thanks for the feedback, it's really helpful.

If I could start this painting over, I think I would change the background color to blue or green. Then I could redden the hair a little more without worrying that it'll start blending into the background. As it is now, the skin looks much greener and sicklier in person than it came across in photos - looks like it is getting pretty overwhelmed by all the crimson.

Of course, if I had more time and I was thinking clearly when I started, I would have done a couple of color studies so that I'd have a better idea of what I was getting into before tackling the canvas :-p