More alla prima portraits

Following up on my previous post about the Rob Liberace's portrait workshop, I thought I'd start this entry by posting my painting from day 2 of the class. This was a very different model from the one who sat for us on the first day:

thecaptainstudy_jenniferyoung

Portrait study- "The Captain", Oil, 20x16"

I heard quite a few people calling this gentleman the Captain, but I'm not sure if they were doing so because he actually was a captain, or just looked like one! In any event, he was a riot and really seemed to get a kick out of sitting for us. He was an excellent model, able to stay still for an extraordinary amount of time (which he attributed to the fact that he was a long-time turkey hunter.)

I got a little further along with this portrait than I had done on the first day, though I think I had a bit of a handicap to overcome. I had toned this canvas rather too dark. Prior to the class we were sent instructions to tone our canvases in acrylic to a middle value gray. I'm ususally pretty good with my value judgements, but I'd not used acrylics in a long time and they seemed to dry darker than I had expected them to.

This ground had me feeling like I had to do a good deal of extra work to get rid of it so that I could acheive the fair complexion and hair of this gentleman. Normally the middle value gray would be a nice gauge  for judging mid tones, but with this model's coloration especially, the darker than mid gray tone was just not helpful.

This next portrait below was actually not done in the workshop, but comes from a session last week after I returned back home. I met up with a local portrait group that meets weekly here in Richmond. I have actually wanted to meet up with this group for quite a while but for some reason the mid-week evening sessions have not jived with my schedule. Any way, this is Joey:

  "Joey" (portrait study), 16x12, oil on linen

"Joey" (portrait study), 16x12, oil on linen

Since I knew we'd only have this model for a 3 hour segment of time, I thought I'd make it a little easier on myself by choosing a smaller canvas (toned in a light wash of burnt umber, on the spot). As it turned out, I didn't get much farther with my level of finish; which is too bad because Joey had on a great oversized black leather jacket and was holding a guitar.

Nevertheless, I think this is my favorite alla prima portrait so far, as I was very happy with the likeness I was able to achieve. I went about it in the same manner as the two previous studies, using same palette as I'd used in the portrait workshop. But this one just seemed to "click" a little better. Even though that electric blue could use some toning down around his jawline, I like what's happening with the color sense and the brushwork.

I'm missing the portrait group's meeting this week because I'm going to the Shins concert (woo hoo!) but I intend to keep up with them on as regular a basis as I am able. Whether or not I ever "do anything" formally with portraiture, I've made it my goal because I'm convinced that the challenge of working from the live model will improve my abilities to render and to see light and color more accurately overall.