Sunday, June 24, 2012

One Step Back, Two Steps Forward

I dived right into painting having absolutely no idea where I was headed as far as color was concerned, which resulted in the hideous thing on the far left. Ok, so it isn't that bad. But, it certainly is not good. Especially when my standard of greatness in the realm of fleshy, fishy goodness is:
I know you are not supposed to compare your work with other artist's work, but sometimes it is irresistible and a much-needed humbling experience. The picture directly above is a small section of a work by Donato Giancola titled "The Golden Rose". Mr. Giancola is a master of the subtleties of skin tones as you can see, portraying dead flesh, live flesh (both cold and warm), human flesh, and fish flesh with realistic nuance. You can check out more of his work here.

I think the problem I had with conceptualizing my color digitally was that I had no idea which tubes of paint that I was going to use, so that when it was time to mix paint, I rushed the process and ultimately, gave up. The result was a palette that was incredibly limited and resulted in a rubbery, unrealistic rendering. I took the time to make two more color concepts in oil paint and after a (another) failed first attempt, found what I was looking for. Not pictured, but certainly an important part of the process, is the palette on which I was mixing my paint. As time-consuming as it was, I mixed a broad range of colors that matched the color gamut I had previously mapped. From that, I painted a complete color concept, keeping track of the colors I was using most frequently in the boxes bellow the painting. After that, I re-mixed only the colors in the boxes. Let me tell you, it was much easier to paint after that.
Here is a break-down of the process I am using for this particular piece. I say this particular piece because I am using a different process every time I oil paint as I am still learning the medium. From top to bottom, left to right:
1. A transparent wash of neutral grey, thinned with solvent
2. Blocking in my "darks" or shadows
3. Blocking in more darks
4. Starting to blend
5. Adding more darks/lights and blending further
6. Repeat step 5.
And this is the point my painting is currently at. I made his left eye larger and left cheek slightly fuller, which I realized was needed after I looked at a reversed image of the painting. My paint has nearly dried out, so I will half to dedicate another half hour to mix those up. I should be able to finish next week!

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