Friday, May 20, 2022

"Sabrina at Dean Village, Edinburgh" (watercolor on paper, 8" x 10")


"Sabrina at Dean Village, Edinburgh"


The following is what we did in the fifth week of the spring term, 2022 in my "Watercolor Portraits" class (my online Zoom classes with the Art League School in Alexandria, VA).

This week I finished "Sabrina at Dean Village, Edinburgh". It is an independent project with the focus on painting a subject with glasses/sun glasses. She is wearing the shades with a metal wire frame and brown, ombre lenses. What I did was paint around the frame and at the very end of the session, I toned it lightly with yellow ochre (quinacridone gold would have worked too) with the a few exceptions of highlights (left untouched). Then I gave the frame dark accent wherever appropriate. However thin the wire is, it still has a volume, so be careful about where you add the dark accent strokes (it can be the top or bottom or the entire width of the thin frame) if you have a similar situation.

The lenses were painted at the same as when I was developing the skin tones, which required three or four further layers, each additional layer becoming increasing deeper. I used cadmium red, Sennelier helios purple, cadmium yellow pale, permanent sap green (in the philtrum and below the lower lip areas), ultramarine violet, brown madder, perylene maroon, and quite a bit of perylene violet (for the dark form shadows around the cheek and chin and in the neck as well as inside the lenses).

Lately I have been avoiding using cobalt blue in skin tones; instead I seem to be using perylene violet, which is a dark, muted violet. The reason behind is that blue (either cobalt or ultramarine blue) can lead to too blue purples in shadows.

Sometimes you may see the eyes, as in my case. There aren't going to be any pure whites of the eyes due to the dark tint of the lenses. After a few layers, I painted around the eye shapes (the pencil lines had disappeared long ago; you may want to redraw the lines with pencil if you feel nervous about "drawing with brush", which I do all the time). Suddenly the "whites" of the eyes appeared; values being relative, the lighter-valued shapes were, because of their shapes and locations, obviously now the "whites of the eyes".

I painted the irises with dark color; when it was still damp, I added the pupils with neutral tint. I also gave the darker lines along the upper lash lines, and darkened the inner and outer corners of the eyes, as I would have done in any portrait.

I didn't have any exciting reflection shapes, which you get sometimes inside the lenses. I did, however, have the exciting, wing-shaped cast shadows on the subject's cheek areas. I used warm/cool colors to develop these shadows with hard edges.

I paid a particular attention to the hard and soft edges. The form shadows have soft edges and the cast shadows usually have hard edges. The contrast of the two give the finished portrait the pizazz, I believe.

This attention to the edge quality (that is the artistic term) applies to the hair, of course. You will see in the recording how I further developed the hair (using indigo and perylene violet).

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