Portrait of Hannah from Sketchy

Hannah W from Sktchy, 14x11” oil on Arches Oil Paper.
Hannah W from Sktchy, 14×11” oil on Arches Oil Paper. 

Learning to paint (well) for me means a constant but gradual process of 1) learning from my mistakes and 2) having “layers of the onion” lifted from my eyes until I at last can see something that was previously mysteriously hidden from me. (You can see the reference photo for this painting on Sketchy here.)

This painting taught me once again how much harder painting can be when you don’t start with an accurate drawing, as you can see in the video below of all the steps I went through, from quick sketch in gouache—horrible, threw it away—to going directly to drawing with paint and then correcting, correcting, correcting. I use Procreate on my iPad to layer a tracing of the photo over a snapshot of the painting in process to see where I’ve gone wrong and then correct it in the painting.

Video of painting and correction process
Hannah Portrait Painting and Correction Process

Getting the drawing right and capturing a likeness can be as “simple” as recognizing the big shapes, contours, divisions of space and observing where things line up with each other. Getting the values right can be as “simple” as observing where the light comes from, how it lands on the large and small planes of the face or any object, and asking myself where the darkest and lightest areas are and how this plane compares. Getting good color “just” means accurately observing the overall and predominant range of colors (saturated or grayed, warm or cool) and then asking is this the spot “warmer or cooler, more or less saturated, lighter or darker.”

I can ask myself these questions over and over, but until yet another layer of the onion is lifted, I just can’t see the answer. When that happens my brain tells me it’s too hard and just jumps ahead with a lazy guess, which then sets off another round or layer of correction, correction, correction. But I do learn from my mistakes and each next painting is an opportunity to put what I learned from them into practice and hopefully remove one more layer until at last I will be able to truly see!

Found or Free: Apples and Candlestick

Found on the Street #1, Candlestick and Apples, oil painting on panel, 8x8" (<a href="http://www.dailypaintworks.com/fineart/jana-bouc/candlestick-and-apples-found-on-the-street-1/253915">$110 at my DPW Gallery: click here</a>) (Click image to enlarge)

Found on the Street #1, Candlestick and Apples, oil painting on panel, 8×8″ (Click image to enlarge)

This is one in a series of paintings of free stuff and things found on the street during my walks in the Berkeley, California area. The little apples had fallen from a neighbor’s tree and the candlestick was in a free box on the curb. Below are photos of some steps in the work in progress of this painting (which is available to purchase from my Daily Paintworks gallery here) and a couple of cool studio tips too. Read More

Farmers Market Friends (Work in Progress)

Farmers Market Freinds
Larger

I’m really happy with the way this painting (from a photo I took at the Farmers Market) is progressing and since I couldn’t finish it tonight and it’s back to the office tomorrow, I decided to share it as a work in progress.

Questions for you:

  1. Can you tell that the woman on the left is resting her hands on her shopping cart handle and that there’s a plastic bag of stuff in the cart?
  2. Is the way her hands are mostly one light shape confusing?
  3. Is that area of hands/cart handle/plastic bag distracting? (Before I pointed it out.)
  4. Do you think I should leave their shirts alone or add the patterns that were really on their shirts?
  5. Anything you see that needs fixing (other than the list above and below)?

I still need to add paint to the truck in the background to get the color right, paint in the lettering and add some contrast to the lady on the right (and maybe adjust her face a bit).

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