Monday, August 4, 2008

Portrait Workshop Demo

Last week I taught a three day portrait painting workshop here in my studio. We all really enjoyed painting the wonderful model, Ella Rose. Here's the demo that I did during it:)

Block in with Burnt Umber
Using oily, viscous paint, thinned with linseed oil, I marked in the basic proportions first. Measuring the proportions to get the drawing accurate, I compared the width to the height of the head, and marked in thirds from the chin to the bottom of the nose, bottom of the nose to eyebrows, and eyebrows to forehead, noting that on her, the forehead measured a bit smaller then the first two. Then, I blocked in the big forms and shadows in Burnt Umber. By “drawing with the shadows” I was able to judge the placement of the features quickly and accurately just by judging the shapes and distances of the shadow patterns on her face.

Shadow Colour and Form Block In
First I put down a large area of skin colour in the light area of the face, covering over the drawing lines entirely that were in the light side of the face (but they still show through a bit, and I can wipe it with a rag to see them more if I want to). Then I blocked in the shadow side, and started to describe the larger, overall forms, like the egg shape of the head.

I blocked in a loose background, in a very direct fashion, with my 1” Langnickel brush, and tried not to mess with it. I wasn’t sure if I would leave it like this or work with it more later. I also started to block in the placement of the shirt. I really wanted to keep the painting of the shirt loose and direct, so I didn’t take it too far at this stage. I also blocked in the hair with my Langnickel brushes, mostly just establishing the overall shape of the hair, and making sure that it is not too bright on the right side (the shadow side) or at the edges (so that the hair will turn around the form).

Initially, her face felt too wide to me, but it kept measuring correctly. When I started to darken the edges of both the light and shadow sides, making the sides of the jaw wrap around the form, her face started to feel like it was the right proportions. I continued to define the the face and hair, leaving the background and shirt alone for a while. I worked on the features some more, and the overall form of the face. I described the planes of the forehead, and softened the hairline. This day was focused on making things look like the actual textures, so making the hair, skin and cloth all feel like the textures that they are. At this stage I was thinning my paint a with a bit more linseed oil. I loosely blocked in the shirt, trying to keep in loose and direct, with some thick, impasto whites, to help it stand out from the background. I decided not to change the background much from here, since I liked the way it was working with her shirt. I only painted into it where it was necessary as I was painting the figure next to it, like in areas of the hair and shoulders.


MaryRose said...

What a blast I had in your workshop, Kristy! You are so encouraging and knowledeable and positive (and patient). Like I said, you are glowing from the inside out!
Thank you for lifting me out of my slump. You have given me new inspiration and renewed creativity. Who says you can't teach an old dog new tricks??
Don't move away and leave us, Kristy -
we need you!

Kristy Gordon said...

Eee! THANKS MARY!!! You did such a great painting and I had so much fun holding the workshop! I'll let you know about the next one for sure:)

Jason Anders said...

Thank you, Kristy! I love your new post, it blows my mind what you can do in just 3 days :)

Kristy Gordon said...

hehe, thanks Jason! :)

Kent said...

Hi Kristy,

I can't thank you enough for that three day workshop last week. I learned more in three days than I learned in three years of taking painting courses elsewhere. The painting I did at your workshop was my best one yet, and I've already started on a new one using the techniques and principles I've learned with you (I'm keeping your notes handy).
You'll make an excellent teacher: you've got the talent, the passion, the ability to show and explain, and encourage. Critique is an important part of teaching painting, and you have the ability to do it in a constructive and positive way. That's really important and rare.
Please keep me in mind for any future workshops you may plan on doing.
Thank you again.

Peggi Habets Studio said...

I really love the way you handled the white of the shirt. I think the background works great with the portrait, glad you left it. Thanks for sharing.

Vanwall said...

The Gordon atelier?

jack raffin said...

oh MAN: kristy, your art fricken RULES!

thanks a whole bunch for posting your work in steps, showing thru the process & the youtube clips and everything. real great to look at.

wow, this blog's exciting.

Kristy Gordon said...

Awww, thanks Kent! I love the painting you did in it, (and I like the title you've choosen for it too:)

And thanks Peggi! I'm so glad to hear that you like the BG that way:) It's always a little hard to tell for sure whether to leave it or not:P

hehehe, and Gordon Atelier... :)

Oh, wow, and thanks Jack! I'm so glad that you're finding everything useful! ~K

innisart said...

The demo looks great! Where was my invite to attend the workshop?

jack raffin said...

yeah, useful is the word - i don't paint enough to set up a blog, but it's one of the things i'm real interested in, always wanting to develop and learn more. i've no patience with my painting, however - this can be a real downer!

trevor said...


I feel guilty having not dropped by lately, but even worse because the Craig and Ella Rose step by steps are so breath-taking.

The pictures are so good, they're taunting me: "See what you've missed you sloppy bitch?!? Never stay away this long again, or Kristy'll create something even more amazing and your laze-faire buttocks will miss it!". . . . they may have been heard to say.

Forgive me Kristy, for I have sinned. It's been several episodes of [scrubs] since my last confession.

- trevor.

Lauren Andersson said...

hey kristy!

wow, thats amazing, that looks just like her! -L

Kristy Gordon said...

Aw, thanks guys!! ~k

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