Want to break free from copying photos? Let’s mix it up to get more creative color choices. Pastel is our primary medium but other paints are welcome.
Week 1: Grisaille Underpainting
Although grisaille usually means gray, it has also come to mean any painting technique in which translucent colors are laid over a monotone underpainting. We will start with a full value range underpainting using just one color. That color will be determined by your reference material and your intension for the painting. Then through the use of broken color we will add colors in layers through scumbling or crosshatching.
Week 2: Reverse Complimentary
We will start with local color, then set it with alcohol. Using your color wheel, continue using just complimentary (opposite) colors. Try to leave some of your underpainting showing through to create some exciting color vibrations.
Week 3: The Power of Neutrals
Today we will work exclusively from black and white images. Think mood. Atmosphere. Subtlety.
Pre-select a palate of 12-15 neutral tones. Depending on your intension, choose a surface color that will enhance your objective. Decide if an underpainting will help your goal. You may have a full or narrow range of values.
Once your painting is 90% complete we will gather to discuss if the addition of any selective bolder colors might improve your painting.
Week 4: Painting Directly
Alla Prima. No underpainting.
We will start with 2 quick timed exercises. The focus will be on bold mark making.
Paper: 2 sheets of 8x10 mid-toned sanded paper plus one larger sheet of the same color
Week 5: Painting the Portrait in Strong Light
Bring in portrait photos shot with one direct strong light source and a clear dark and light side of the face. Through a series of steps we will focus on the planes, shapes, proportions, and values of the head.
Week 6: Bring in Your Duds!
(JK, I mean your unfinished potential marvels.)
Please bring in anything unfinished, or earlier work that you could now improve on. We will start with a group critique and talk about suggestions you could try. An open mind is needed today. No fear in experimenting on duds!
Note: Nailing your values in your underpainting or your direct painting is critical to the success of a strong work of art. Color seduces, but values have substance.