Sunday, April 26, 2009

Portrait Demo at the Pelican Art Gallery

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This was a demo that I painted at The Pelican Art Gallery during our show that was held there between the end of March and the middle of June. It was a four person show for the folks behind our art school, l'Atelier aux Couleurs in Petaluma, CA. The artist were Camille Przewodek, Dale Axelrod, Carole Gray-Weihman and myself, Alfredo Tofanelli.

Another artist with the gallery sat for me while I did an oil sketch on a 12x16 canvas board. I was demonstrating how to get a likeness by sketching lightly and building the value up as you work the whole painting at once. This allows you to make adjustments as you bounce around the board. Any early errant marks, since they were put down on the board lightly, will not take away from the likeness. This is done in a similar manner as a charcoal study, it's just that oils are less forgiving.

I use to start my head studies and portraits this way but rarely do anymore. They can be valuable as a rehearsal to the color painting but I find it more of a hindrance as you don't want to loss your beautiful drawing. Typically when I paint a head study I will only sketch in the big shapes with linework and then go right into blocking in the big shapes and shadow patterns in color. Adding features way down the road only after I have the correct color relationships down on the large masses.

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