Thursday, January 15, 2009

Abby from Zimbabwe

From yesterday's alla prima class. This was tough for several reasons. First, that there was even less time than usual for this portrait, just a little over two hours' painting time, as the model was late (brought by her rather obnoxious boyfriend).

Second, I painted way too big. I've realized that, for whatever reason, my alla prima portraits have gotten incrementally larger every week...weird. Perhaps it's because I find portraiture--a real live human being's utterly individual face--so awesome. I'm going to really concentrate on whittling the size back down to something more manageable, starting next week!

Third, this was our first non-Caucasian model, so the entire palette was switched to something that none of us students had ever used before (but which was sooooo fun and colorful!): all earth colors, plus ultramarine, alizarin, and white.

So, all in all, a real shock to the painting mind--it was good for us, I'm sure, to shake things up, though my brain felt completely fried afterward, for the rest of the day. Amazing how tiring that much concentration is.  I hope to be able to experiment more with painting dark skin. If only I could get The Husband (he's from India) to sit still for more than 15 seconds!

More art on my website:


Anonymous said...

Love how you mixed the orange next to the blue and made it all work.

What are the earth colors you use?
These are the faces I paint most and am always looking for other ways to interpret darks in skin tones.

It's a wonderful portrait.
So true what you say about concentrating that hard and how tiring it can be.

Jala Pfaff said...

Hi, Bonnie, thanks! (I miss Larry too.)

For this portrait the palette was: alizarin crimson (the real stuff, not the Permanent kind, which is a diff.color), ultramarine blue, white, burnt sienna, burnt umber, raw sienna. Oh, and cadmium orange.

My teacher's advice on this one was to do shadows cool (ultramarine + burnt umber + touch of white). Basic lit flesh color was raw sienna + alizarin + cad orange + touch of white. Darker lit areas added burnt sienna. Highlight areas were either violet or baby blue (ultramarine and/or alizarin + white). And I added some cad orange to wherever I thought needed to look warm and lit but not actually highlighted.

Jala Pfaff said...

Bonnie-- P.S. After the shadow areas were established, later on I went back into them with some alizarin.

Karen said...

Every time I see your portrait work you make me want to try it again (first attempts were bad, very bad). Your are so accomplished, and I marvel at your product in the time you have.

Thanks too for noting your colors...that is always interesting to see!

Anonymous said...

Thanks Jala- great info here.
Also about the two alizarins.
I found my tube was permanent and couldn't figure out why the darks weren't getting dark the way I remembered.
I really appreciate the benefit of your art teachings!

Your work is always so spirited and well drawn.

Jala Pfaff said...

Karen, what a great compliment--to be inspiring to another artist!

Bonnie, very glad you found the paint info helpful! You can thank my teacher. :)