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‘Spring In Fall’ Instruction by master portrait painter

By October 11, 2009June 1st, 2016Portrait Painting Instruction, Portraits

On The Easel – Ballerina In The Park

In progress….three steps forward…one step back.    I compare where the painting was before this last session below.  I further developed the background high on the right. I was laying a foundation for many leaves on the walkway, however, I am now considering removing the leaves in this area for a clean walkway in the back.

I spent a great deal of time developing her extended leg.  I warmed up the walkway and added some leaves. I began developing the dress. I reduced the value of the whites of the eyes. I am trying to decide if I want to lighten the whites of the eyes more.

I am now thinking about what areas I want to develop a highly realistic appearance, and which areas I want to leave to the imagination and my creativity.  There were hundreds of leaves in this walk area and of course it is not desirable to spend the next 2 years of my life detailing them.   I am also really looking forward to adding some beautiful palette knife texture in the wall on the left in the near future.

I went to a Royo show in Alexandria last night. The faces were the only part of the paintings that resembled anything in reality. The hair, clothes and backgrounds were all just playful splashes of saturated pigments of paint. The time required by the artist to paint this kind of work is minimal, and if the work can be marketed for high prices like Royo’s marketing team does, alot of money is made. In the perfect world, the artist has more fun expressing himself and earns alot more money. Seems like a win win. The downside is that if the marketing team is unsuccessful, and the paintings dont get sold, someone is stuck with alot of, average at best, paintings.

There are so many millions of average quality paintings in the world already that I do not want to add to the pile. On the other hand, if we produce paintings of very high quality that take a lot of time to create, if they cant be sold at prices that make sense, at least we will be in possession of very high quality work that we are very proud of. Saturated pigments and lots of texture can create excitement for a little while. On many occasions during my career, I have had alot of fun splashing bold colors and texture on canvas only to determine later that I had ruined the painting during my manic state.  Later I realized that less is sometimes more. Lots of color can be garish and be painful to look at rather quickly. Texture in the wrong places cant be removed and becomes and eyesore.

It’s tough looking at lots of bold saturated pigments in the background, and more saturated pigments in the clothes, hair and skin!  Where can the eye rest?  To see light we must have shadows. To appreciate color we must have subtle beautiful grays.   We need some dynamics in a painting. We need a range of grays as well as bold color.

My idea for this painting is to have beautiful subtle grays in the background, and have some fun splashing some saturated pigments in the focal area around her dress!