Palette knife painting has become my new obsession. In my desire to loosen up my style, it seems a natural choice. You can only get so detailed with the knife. It’s frustrating at times — when I’m trying to get some little area done and I desperately want to pick up the brush. I’ve done a fair amount of knifing during plein air, but recently I decided to try it with portraits. This is from a photo of my beautiful daughter Katie. It’s interesting. Not my best painting but interesting enough that now I’ve started a large portrait/figure piece using that technique. Part of it my desire to “make a painting” not just a picture of someone. We’ll see how it all pans out. I definitely haven’t forsaken the brush, but intrigued.
Once a week at least I try to paint from life. There is nothing quite like it for seeing all the colors that are really in skin or anything else for that matter. Often I end up refining the painting later from the photo. If I do it soon enough I can usually remember the colors and values. I get so caught up in the painting at the time that sometimes I don’t see some of the proportion problems. Hopefully I catch those when I review it later in the studio.
This beautiful young woman was a wonderful model. I don’t get to paint African Americans as often as I’d like. Their skin presents a whole new set of values and colors. I got to use oranges and ed oxides in a way that I would not normally. But I would never see some of these were I not painting from life.
This is one of the more recent portraits I’ve completed. Wonderful young man about to start college. The glasses were new to me but not as difficult as I anticipated. Still trying to get more paint on my paintings. This one is moving in that direction, but still not as much as I’d like. This started as a 3 hour session that I reworked from the photo. I know that’s a “no-no”. But when I came back and took another look at it I realized that it was off, so I couldn’t resist reworking it. My goal this year is to start completing some portraits completely from life.
The colors from life are so completely different from a photo. Lots of nuances that are completely gone in the photo. I have discovered that working from my computer monitor is much better than an actual photo. The other advantage is I can focus on different areas and blow them up for better detail.
I’ve recently started a new series of local musicians. Began the first on Sunday and it brought up some things that I didn’t expect. Painting a friend is so much different than a “model”. Lots of fear and anxiety. But the good news is that this is a friend that I could acknowledge the fear with and not be too embarrassed. I did decide that for now I’ll spend some time figuring out the pose and photographing. Then I’ll do a color study that doesn’t have to be perfect. From the photo and the color study, I can begin the painting. After I’ve gotten to a certain point, I can have the sitter back for more painting from life.