I rose early this morning to get household things like grocering done so that I could spend the bulk of the day with my paints (and there's nothing like a full fridge to keep kids outta my hair!!).
Here's where we left off with Mya's portrait last week. Starting with a bright turquoise underpainting, I got her blocked in, sculpting her face with large and broad marks.
Today I started with identifying the deeper shadows inside her mask. She's got a light mask, but the density of her fur cast a smoky, dark shadow underneath the dusky fur on top. Instead of painstakingly painting all those little pockets of shadow, I laid down several dark and inky swaths of paint (remember I am a lazy painter!).
I also popped some more of that turquoise back in to her face. Having the background more of a neutral tone allowed me to see that her expression could use a little more "oomph" of color.
Now is the trickier part - mixing translucent glazes of oranges, pinks, periwinkles, and lavenders, and starting to pull the highlighted, dusky colored fur in her mask to the surface.
At the same time, I laid down even paler glazes on her muzzle and neck, softening the transitions and de-saturating some of the modeling.
Do you see that I also glazed over that hot spot under her chin? It was competing with the little pink snippet on her nose.
Working with glazes is tricky because it is guess work. The glaze medium is milky, and one never knows the exact translucence until it is dry. But I feel it is worth the risk because of the ethereal glow that glazing creates - I just have to remind myself to be patient while it is drying (on top of being lazy, I lack patience - I want things to look good NOW!).
After allowing everything to dry and spending a couple hours with the painting in my peripheral vision, I made a few tweaks and adjustments before placing the finishing touches.
I added whiskers in - pale pink on the lit side of her face (because they have little pigment to them, the light is shining THROUGH the hair shaft), and lavender on the dark side. Yes, her whiskers are the same color on both sides of her face, but in this particular lighting situation they are different.
One of the mistakes beginning painters make is painting what they think they see (whiskers universally the same color or eyeballs exactly round) instead of what is in front of their face.
Below I've inserted a detail of Mya's eyes. My crispest edges are here and in her nose - nothing harsh is anywhere else in this painting.
She's living and breathing inside this portrait, despite the dashes of lively color.
I am just giddy with how Mya's portrait has turned out. Let's hope Mya's family feels the same!
Thanks, as always, for looking at and sharing my paintings with your friends and family,
JUST ANNOUNCED!! PAINTING WORKSHOP: Saturday, October 8th, at the Orion Art Center in Lake Orion MICHIGAN, for reservations call 248-693-4986