Thursday, March 12, 2009

Dan 3

Another of our favorite and frequent models, Dan. He poses like a statue; it's unbelievable. Apparently, he used to be a "bureaucrat and therefore knows how to sit still for long periods of time" (his words).

More art on my website:


brian eppley said...

Tres bon!

Loriann Signori said...

Looks great Jala! I am do you build your portraits? Do you begin with thin washes?

r garriott said...

Exquisite! Great expression. I envy your atelier training.

Anonymous said...

Look at that perfect ear, will you?

I too, would like to know what Loriann asked. For me, the issue is thick/thin, wet/dry, medium/turps..... you can see how much there is to learn.

You warmed that " bureaucrat " right up into a genuine human.

Great work Jala, as always.

Patrice said...

Excellent work, Jala..

Jala Pfaff said...

Brian E - Merci!

R - Thank you! I am so grateful for the nearly two years of training I got. If only the school had been able to stay open. I would have continued to years 3 and 4. Ah, well, we must be grateful for what we do have (or did get, in this case).

Patrice - Thank you! And I hope you enjoyed "meeting" my wonderful artist neighbor and your doppelganger, Sam(antha).

Loriann, Bonnie - I can tell you about the way I've been taught to do these alla prima portraits. I start with a VERY drippy (as you can see) imprimatura of turps plus a little paint, put on as if working with watercolor. I try to get to about a middle value, but if not, no biggie. Then I do a very quick sketch (10-15 min.) of head, shoulders, and some features into the wash, using straight paint on my brush, but not very much. It kind of melts into the wash but the key is to have enough of the lines still visible to be helpful later. In this portrait, you can see a vertical line on the right side of his head--that was the line that designated the angle of his face. It's a personal preference, but I don't mind when/if a couple of these lines end up still showing later. Next I put in basic BIG colors/shapes, starting with shadows and then once those are done, moving into lights. In this portrait, it was nearly all lights (but true to the teaching method, I still started with only the shadows. Doing the shadows first and then leaving them pretty much alone helps avoid lights muddying up your darks). After that, it's just a matter of adding more paint layers as time permits (and we know how fast these portrait sessions fly by!) We don't use any medium, and we don't use ANY turps ever--except in that first wet drippy imprimatura wash.

I hope this is helpful. Feel free to ask me to explain better, elaborate, etc. I am honored to be asked, as I am honored to have a good teacher teaching me this method.


Anonymous said...

Jala- a million thank yous for the very generous and helpful explanation. I've noticed your often loose and drippy backgrounds but yet the brushstrokes in the portraits look creamy and sculpted.

I've found that too much turp in the mix has made a very dull appearance and negates the luster of oil paints all together.
Finding the right balance is the key.
Do I take it to mean that even when you dip your brush in turp ( or do you use OMS?) to clean off a color, you wipe it thoroughly dry before dipping in your paint?

And do you pre-mix your paints at least to some basic starting point?

The benefit of your classical training is a generous gift to us.
Thanks so much Jala-

Jala Pfaff said...

Hi Bonnie,
You're quite welcome.
When I say we use absolutely NO turps other than that first drippy imprimatura, I really mean NONE. Brushes are wiped off with a plain old dry rag between every stroke or two. We don't use kind of turps nor spirits to clean brushes during a painting at all!

For portraits, during the model's first break, I mix about 3 or 4 "starter" skin tones (1 shadow and , and the rest several variations of the skin tones in light); the rest from then on is ad-libbed.

When I do my alla prima still lifes, I paint pretty much the same way, though often without "pre-mixing" any colors at all.

Very happy to share knowledge!