Oil on linen - 11x14"
This will be the final post on Scott and Sue's workshop.
This portrait of Doulton (Sue's Spanish teacher) was from the afternoon of the 10th day, when things finally began to click in and integrate. Had some help from Scott on this one, and I loved painting it. Doulton posed for us twice, and there was something so wonderful about his energy - he had a big, easy smile and a warmth in his presence that was immensely captivating. It was super rewarding to bring all the learning into capturing the essence of this wonderful model.
"Begin in a slow, steady, meditative mindset" - Scott
"Don't work out of stress - work out of thoughtfulness." - Sue
We saw this demonstrated again and again - a slow, deliberate approach by each of them. And at least once every hour, Scott would spontaneously announce, somewhere between a question and a declaration, "Isn't this fun?!" - I was never quite sure if he meant it or if he was trying to convince himself - but it definitely seemed to keep him in the zone and connected with his process.
So here are some key pointers:
5 Darks of the Face: (when lit from above)
- eye sockets
- base of nose
- top lip
- beneath lower lip
- under chin
- Immediately establish the correct angle of the eyes, nose, mouth
- Initially draw changes in angles, point to point - round things off later
- Don't move off of one point until you're sure it's accurate (get eye correct before moving to nose, look for the smallest jumps possible, nose correct before moving to mouth)
- Think only of shadow and light at first, the largest division of lights and darks
- Squint and lose halftones to create the drama of light, otherwise you will over-model the lights and not make the shadows dark enough - everything will come too close to the middle
- It's easy to make the halftones too dark, remember they belong to the light
- Color isn't critical at this stage - value and temperature relationships are what's important
- Open eyes to see color - squint down to see value
When you've got a lot done and are trying to decide what's next - ask:
- Where is my lightest light?
- Where is my darkest dark?
- Where is my hardest edge?
"I am not concerned with getting a likeness. My focus is on getting the drawing, shapes, values and colors correct - and trusting that this will result in a likeness." - Scott
You can see that almost all of these pointers are universal - your work will grow if you apply them to whatever subject matter you're painting. It's impossible to try and share in a few short blog posts all the learning that happened in a 10 day intensive workshop, but I hope these few things have been helpful, and inspired you to put these two wonderful teachers on your list of important ones to study with.