-Demo for Shy-
Before we begin I really want to stress that this and all the demos on this site are not a “how to” but more of a “how I work”. With that being said, lets get started!
Once the model was in position and the lighting was set up I really wanted to nail the drawing/anatomy before I even put paint to canvas (artists version of measure twice cut once) so I spent this entire first session drawing everything out on the canvas and making sure it all measured up and was correct. The lighter lines you see on the drawing are visual ques for me as to where shadows were so that when the model comes back from breaks she can get back into the correct position.
The second day I started out with a thin wash of orange and cobalt blue to kill the white of the canvas. It is extremely hard to judge value and color against a white canvas so I highly recommend toning your canvas. I start laying is spots of flesh tones judging them against what I see on the model. I primarily focus on value first and then I try and pay attention to the cool and the warm tones in the flesh. I’ve found that no matter what the colors you use, if the values are right you will get a realistic depiction of your subject. I keep working on the skin tones and working on the edges until my time with the model for the day is up. Keep in mind that you will save your lightest values until the end of the painting.
The final day and we already have the bulk of everything massed in so we can start to refine the painting. I tighten up areas of the painting that I want to draw focus to and keep areas loose that are not that important (for example, the chair can be left very impressionistic). I basically just keep building up and refining, getting the colors I want – always comparing to my model! To steal a quote from Richard Schmid, “Paint what you see, not what you think you see”. Don’t try and paint what you think a nose looks like. Look at the model and study him or her and paint the shapes that make up their nose. When you feel like your painting is finished – sign your work in a way that doesn’t overshadow all the hard work you just did.