Thursday, May 15, 2014


I chose to play down the colors in the clothes as you might notice.  I find that we tend to try to achieve the same color intensity in the clothing when we are doing portraits.  Depending on what you want to focus on, of course, it's best to play down these areas.  The face is where you mostly want your focus to be directed.  If I were to paint the basket the hot pink it is in reality, I immediately shift my focus and things become out of whack.  The skirt is therefore  mostly light in tone except where the folds and creases are and some darker shadowing on the left side. I randomly painted the flowers in her skirt first....very undetailed.  I think you can figure out what colors you can use here.  Then I painted around them to do the skirt and  I used cobalt teal and winsor yellow.  Some areas of the skirt I added more yellow, some I added more teal......all watered down a good amount.  The darker folds of the skirt I added some ultramarine to that mix and I made it slightly stronger (used less water). There is a little scalloped edge separating the top and bottom of the skirt.  I darkened under that scalloped edge.

The basket is pretty straight forward.  I initially painted it a light wash of perm. rose and a tiny bit of cobalt.  The interior of the basket is a little darket violet (added more cobalt), however I added a touch of winsor yellow to it to dull it down.  Not too much.  I even threw in a little cobalt teal to it.  It is VERY light.....don't be heavy handed with it.....remember we are downplaying this area.  After this dries, I made a little heavy mix of the initial violet I used to paint the basket and put in some minute details.....adding a little more cobalt to darken towards the bottom.  You might have to add a little yellow to tone down that violet shadow if you don't already have it in your mix.....don't make that shadowed violet too violety....(my word).

OK....the legs.....they are done the same way as the face.  They have a bit more yellow tone, so add a bit more raw sienna.  The leg that is tucked under though has violet tones in it.  I mixed a violet and put that just under the skirt area. (perm. rose and ultramarine)  I accentuated some of the bone and muscle area by concentrating color in those areas....such as the calf and knee and leaving some white showing.

The shoes are very understated.  They are just a violet with yellow in it to tone it down.  Pick a will work.

Now that those areas are finished we can darken the face and add background.  I think I forgot to talk about the lips!  All the shadows, facial features that need to be darkened I did.  The lips are alizarin watered down.  Add violet to deepen it toward the edges of her smile.  It's always lighter where the lips get fatter. I ended up putting a little white highlight on the lower lip with gouache.

Here's a closer view of her features.  I darkened the upper eyelids with more of the skin tone.  Put a few more blue in places.  Glazed the skin with raw sienna in areas on the left side of her face, sides of her mouth, cheeks.  Also glazed areas with perm. rose after that dried. The bridge of the nose has a shadow on it.  I used raw sienna, let that dry and used cobalt.  Some of these glazes have to dry in between.  You can't add wet on wet sometimes because the colors will just get lost.  This is not a very large picture so that makes it more difficult.

The background was finished after that.  I decided to put in a row of trees very loosely.  I used sap green and cobalt with burnt sienna in places.  Very light wash.....not a focal point and it's also in the near distance.  I painted it wet on dry but then took some water and brought it down past the horizon line.  Then I darkened the grass area around her feet.  I made it look like there were flowers around by just not painting and negatively painting in some roundish shapes.  I put in sap and cobalt with raw sienna and burnt sienna....all individually running it around on the paper.  You might want to practice that before attempting.  It takes a loose hand.  That's it!!! 

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