Thursday, February 7, 2013

Portraits from Life

11x16 oil on canvas

 These are my portraits from a recent workshop I took here in Tampa taught by Kerry Dunn of the Studio Incamminati in Philadelphia.  For a week I worked alongside about 15 other artists to refine our portrait painting skills, under the watchful eye of our terrific teacher.

My fellow students

Painting from life is a lot different than painting from a photo.  First of all it's harder to do the drawing because you're translating three dimensions into two dimensions.  With a photo, it's already two dimensional.  Secondly, you're dealing with a live human being, who moves a bit, even if you're lucky to get a very experienced model, like we had in Sayla.  And you'd be surprised how a tiny bit of movement changes the whole drawing.

But the advantages of working from life outweigh the difficulties, because you can get much better skin color, and you can see the complicated planes, values, and colors of the face in a way that a photo never shows. 

11x16 oil on canvas


Believe it or not, these two portraits are of the same model. The top was done in about 7 hours of working time--which is broken up into 20-25 minutes painting sessions followed by a 5 minute break.  The second, where Sayla wore a blond wig, was a longer pose of 12 hours so I was able to show more details.  But if I had more time, I could do a lot more.

It was a fun, exhausting week, and I'm already planning to take it again next year when Kerry comes back!


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