When I was at the Portrait conference this year, they talked about how every artist should keep track of the critiques that they receive and compile a list based on the mistakes that they seem to keep making. Actually, this reminded me of when John K made very specific checklists for us Ren and Stimpy BG painters to actually physically check off before he would even look at our backgrounds, and to my surprise when I started doing it I started doing some decent backgrounds, which finally started getting approved;) Anyway, so here’s my current painting checklist:
Most Frequent Mistake Checklist:
- not looking long enough at the model before making a brushstroke
- don’t mistake the area of highest contrast as the brightest/darkest
- seeing warm in the shadows, but not comparing it to the warm in the lights, so making it too chromatic
- cast shadows should be sharp(ish)-edged, dark, often cool, and united with the contained shadows
edge of a warm object gets cooler, and colours get warmer at the edges of a cool object
not so loose at edges (treatment inside a shape can be loose, but refine the edges)
usually darken at edges (so it wraps around the form)
in painting trees, use careful strokes, like calligraphy (actually, this applies to almost all brushstrokes ideally:)
working without enough paint
leave some brushstrokes!
don't put in detail highlights before the big form modeling
don't over do it with the highlights!
shadows should be transparent
Capturing a Mood in a Portrait
Matthew Innis sent me a bunch of articles, essays, write-ups and soooo much other great stuff, and I was reading through it the other day, and came across this really cool article called “The Difference Between Genius and Talent in Figure Painting, by an artist.” It had some really cool ideas about doing meaningful portraits and figure paintings.
First the artist should conceive of what it is that they want to express with their painting. What they want to capture or to say about them. Perhaps an inner emotion or feeling, or an “elevated form of a genuine human character.”
Then select a pose, gesture and expression that embodies that theme.
Then, the REALLLYY interesting part was that when you are painting, get into the mood that you want to convey in the piece. When we are in a certain mood, we naturally create brushstrokes and shapes that express that feeling!
Anyway, I just thought that was really interesting!