Before I start the painting I usually mix my palette.
I mix skin tones in three shades. Dark, medium and light.
I use flesh tone, light napels yellow, white, Chinese red and gold transparent ochre.
I also use Asphaltum and Van dyke brown for the darkest tones.
I start with the eyes.
When working on a portrait if I get the eyes right and get the subject looking back at me, then the rest is easy. If the eyes are not working out, I can spend as much time as I want on the portrait. Its not going to work.
Starting is always hard for me. I’ve done it before, yet before I get in the groove it’s as if I have never done it, I have no idea what I am doing, I want my mommy, waaaaa, I am thirsty, yes I’ll make some coffee, oh my it’s the wrong color and then it works.
Now I have to pee.
Now for the second eye.
I studied for my graduate degree at Pratt Institute in NY. When I started I never used oil paint before, water media was a no no, so I used to do a very detail sketch of whatever I was painting and then would paint it, rendering every detail.
Later on I took classes at the New York Academy of art, and learned how to loosen up and do a rough sketch of the subject. I still work like that.
I do not render the images any more.
I let the brush strokes be visible. It's my hand writing sort of and I let the paint and brush do their work and try to stay out of it.
Sounds easy, but it took years to get to this simple place.
For me when someone says that a painting looks like a photo, it's not a compliment.
I want my painting to look like a painting.
For photos I have a camera.
Till next time.