Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Portrait Class

This week's class and demonstration for my students was how to paint eyes.  Now folks, there are eyes and then there are eyes.  And to add to my teaching frustration, there is more than one way to approach it.  My first concern and goal for any of my students is how can I make it understandable and doable.  The day before, I decided to do a couple of charcoal drawings of faces (from photographs).  I love drawing with charcoal and this was a labor of love.  First was a young lady that I had used as a model a few years back and David took hundreds of photos.  The second is a charming young Amish boy.  I forgot to take a photo of the young lady.

Drawing with charcoal on canvas helps me have a first run of examining the features and creating accurate placement.

For my demo, I focused just on the eyes for both drawings.  First I modeled how I mix the colors and lay them out in a simplified string(s).  The more I teach, the more I learn and hopefully, my students as well.  Here are the final products of this one hour demonstration.

After class, I finished both portraits just for the practiced.  Some pointers to remember when painting eyes.
     1.  Create the socket first by massing in with dark-Trans. Oxide Red and Ultramarine Blue
     2.  Brow line will me the upper portion of the socket.
     3.  If the lid crease is visible, lay in a warm red-burnt sienna with a touch of alizarin.
     4.  I then look for where the light is hitting the brow and eye lid. 
     5.  The eye lid/lashed is laid in dark.
     6.  Working down, I create the iris which usually is connected visually to the eye lid.
     7.  The bottom of the socket is curved and created just like you would any curved surface.
     8.  The white of the eye is NOT white.  Usually a cool bluish turning warm into the corners.

These directions are overly simplified.  If interested in getting better at eyes, look to the old masters.  There are numerous high res images on the net.  Use them as a model to make fantastic eyes.

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