Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Rachel-Progressions of Portrait by Texas Contemporary Artist Vonnie Kohn

Well, I'm back at the easel again with Rachel. When considering a portrait, the skin tones usually dictate the background color. Rachel's skin tones have a delicate pale blue in the shadows with very fair skin. She has hazel eyes with naturally blond hair. A pale lose background in greens seem to enhance all of her features. I loosely painted the background in an impressionistic manner.

The jacket was painted in undertones of alizarin crimson & ultramarine blue to give a little warmth to the dark jacket. If I had painted the jacket straight black, it would have looked like a "black hole" instead of being rich with deep tones.

Notice that her eyes were not painted "white" at this point. When observing a person's eyes, the eyeball is not always pure white. They are also luminous with reflected color!

The "Eyes" have it! Rachel now has eyes. I am still modifying by overlaying layers of shadows and deepening values in the skin tones. The jacket has undergone more layers with additional glazes. Next week...the finished project!

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

"Rachel"-Progression of Portrait by Texas Contemporary Artist Vonnie Kohn

It's been a long while since I've blogged about art. I took a sabbatical for awhile in order to concentrate on family and medical issues. It's good to be back at the easel again and share in the Celebration of Life on canvas. I have decided to change the format of my blog somewhat. I will be posting the progression of some of my paintings from time to time at the requests of other fellow artists. To the right is a photo of one of my granddaughters-Rachel. The light was not too flattering and she had just stopped by my studio after a long tiring day at work.  Isn't she beautiful? Her jacket was interesting and typified her personality perfectly.

I hung this on a display wall at the gallery where I exhibit my work and conduct lessons. I was teaching a portrait class at the time and gave a preliminary oil sketch demo to my students. The canvas size is 20x24" portrait canvas by W and N. Ordinarily I work on canvases with a neutral background, but Rachel's skin tones were so pale that I wanted to allow the white of the canvas to lighten her facial values. My palette colors were: Raw umber, alizarin crimson, ultramarine blue, yellow ochre pale and titanium white by Winsor and Newton. I ordinarily do not sketch beforehand with a pencil or charcoal but draw with a brush technique which is more spontaneous. Because of limited time in the classroom, this is where I stopped for the session. To demonstrate the layout of composition,  the canvas was divided into thirds, both vertically and horizontally. In placing her just off center and facing the viewer directly, Rachel's energetic personality is both straightforward and direct.

The basic proportions and underpainting are now in place. Next blog, I will bring her to life...see you then!