Thursday, September 6, 2012

Alla Prima Portrait Class, Day 1

Last night was my first day of my alla prima portrait class with Felicia Forte. I took this class because I wanted to work with color and also be less "tight" with my paintings, if that makes any sense. I feel like my paintings have lost spontaneity, which isn't necessarily a bad thing since I like what I am doing, but it's also fun to be a bit more gestural too.

Since we start and complete each painting in one sitting, it forces me to paint and draw quicker. I have to be quicker about sketching (which we do with a dry brush and paint) out my faces and making sure they are correctly proportioned. I can't waste too much time redrawing, not if I want to get a mostly finished painting by the end of class. The class is three hours long, but the model poses for twenty minutes at a time with breaks in between. That isn't much time of actual painting.

Then there's the issue of color and mixing skin tones. This is something I am completely unfamiliar with. It's a challenge that I have been looking forward too, even if I don't get it right for a few paintings. Last night's painting of Wendell is a bit too orange. I think if I had more time and practice, I could get it more natural looking. We are only using four colors on our palette, titanium white, yellow ochre, cadmium red, and ivory black. This makes for an "interesting" mixing experience, although I am not sure I would get the skin tone any closer to reality if I had more colors. Perhaps it's better to force myself to mix with this limited Zorn palette (named after artist Anders Zorn) cause I could see myself getting caught up in all the tubes of paints, trying to figure out what to add next. With the Zorn palette, I have less decisions to make so I can spend more time painting.

I'm looking forward to next class and the a different model. I am trying to convince my husband to let me practice painting him but so far, the idea of sitting still for at least three hours doesn't appeal to him. I'm still working on him though!

My painting of Wendell at the end of the night. I am pretty happy
 with my first attempt. I feel like the proportions of the head are good and
 it actually looks kind of like the model. I think I got a good amount
done in the limited time we had.

This was what my painting looked like half ways through our  session. At this point
I was wondering if I could actually get a good likeness. It all worked out okay,
but I felt like it was touch and go for awhile.

1 comment:

  1. You did really well, Jhina. You really captured the form of the head. It has a very sculptural look. The palette that Paco Benitez uses that he says is the ancient one for encaustic is red oxide, yellow ochre, a neutral white and black (I forget if ivory or mars). Maybe you're getting to much orange because of the cad red, which is pretty orange. Anyway, good job!