Wednesday, July 10, 2013

"Cleo" - Black and White to Color

I know I've been MIA for the past week or so, but that doesn't mean I haven't been painting. If you're on my Facebook page, you've seen I've been doing a bit of painting on location as well as sketching for the Summer Sketchbook Challenge. In addition I've been working on a number of commissioned paintings. I hope to share a few of them here over the next few weeks.

Below is one that took quite a bit more effort than most. I don't typically paint portraits from black and white photos, although we did quite a bit of that while in art school at VCU. I wouldn't even consider myself a portrait painter. This commission was a tough one to tackle, but I am happy with the result.

16x20, oil

I recorded each step in the painting's progression:

I started with a 5x7 "study" to make sure I could handle it.

Here I set up the underpainting with burnt umber, then added the dark areas of the hair, eyes and eyebrows.

My palette and the flesh tone mixtures.

Here is the reference photo next to the study. Flesh tones were being placed and the blouse painted. The request was for a blue blouse. :)
A loose block in of the flesh tones, and some refining of the tones & transitions.

Finishing up with the eyes & then painting in the background.

Now I'm ready (as I'll ever be) to paint the full-size piece - 16x20:

After laying in the underpainting, I decided to start with the eyes this time.

Here I'm beginning to lay in the skin tones & clothing.

Finalizing the facial structure & defining the hair.

Here, the reference photo with the study & final after the background was added.
The finished piece. 
16x20, oil.
She loved it. :)

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