This is another personal piece, loosely based on a prose poem. I enjoyed this, as it's so refreshing to do work unrelated to a commission sometimes. Another piece that was clear in my mind right from the start.
Last semester I did a demo of me painting a waterfall in oil, here is the method I followed. I was very careful to include each stage of the process for my students; initial thumbnail sketches to figure out composition, design, values, etc. These drawings are probably the most important stage of the whole process, not to sound hyperbolic. After that I like to do a couple of colour studies to establish the basic colour world of my image before I dive in (which is what I used to do with my work in university, much to the distress of my tutors).
After those steps, I feel better prepared for the main event, and have more confidence in general about how I'm going to go about it all. Now, I tone my surface with a neutral like Raw Umber or Burnt Sienna. You can tone your 'ground' with whatever you like, but make sure it makes sense for the specific painting you're working on (for example, I wouldn't use bright red for something like a naturalistic waterfall). Then it's time to paint, outlining my basic shapes first, then blocking in my most obvious values, from dark to light usually...
I'm not entirely sure what inspired me to do a horse head study in the first place, but I'm glad I did. It was a great challenge and working on the toned paper lent itself perfectly to capturing that added sense of depth in the values, particularly when applying the layers of graphite powder. I worked from a photo of course, but added my own subtle embellishments so as not to just 'copy' it directly, which would be no fun at all.
These are the last of the student portrait demo's I did during the last semester. I wanted to see how I'd tackle a beard, but also try and get some sense of form and depth in the wrinkles. The portrait of the girl is another study where I limited my palette. It isn't quite the Zorn palette, as I did use Ultramarine, but it's the next closest thing. My aim was to capture some atmosphere and mystery with that one.
This is another portrait that began life as a class demo. Once again I felt compelled to take it to finish. I simply used Ivory Black and Titanium White for this one. It seems to be painted a little looser than usual, which can only be a good thing for me...
I've been doing a lot of portrait demonstrations recently for my students, which I don't always take to finish. The last few in particular though have absorbed me so I've taken them as far as is logical for a study. Always good practice, even though they are inspired by photos and not from life....
I was commissioned to design a tattoo recently. The bones of the brief was- a woman's face, with tentacles and flowers. Well, here you go. The original finished drawing seemed a bit stiff, and the girl looked too young, so I ended up doing another (the top one). I'm glad I did as I think the second attempt is looser and compositionally better.
I've been getting some decent direct observation practice in recently, which was continued in this study of the Roman bust. This is graphite on toned paper, with some white charcoal for the lightest areas. The light source (from the window) changed many times throughout this drawing, but I stuck closely to the initial shadow shapes all the way to the end to keep it pretty consistent and believable. For the most part.
This post is not specific like the last one, in fact it's a proper mish-mash of randomness. A lot of this stuff is out of my imagination, or I've used reference photos of myself as a starting point. Some of these ideas were supposed to be converted into finished paintings, but for whatever reason it didn't happen. The colour studies were prepared first with a layer of Clear Gesso, then painted in oil.
If there was one piece of advice I'd give to art students, at any level, is keep a sketchbook. They are often at least as interesting as an artists final pieces.