Sunday, August 08, 2010

Practice, Practice, Practice

Portrait of our Miss Madeleine. 5"x5" acrylic on watercolor paper.
Subject to change as I continue to work on the proportions and her eyes.

Acrylic paintings take longer than watercolor, so while I'm working on a larger landscape painting, I'm also doing a number of smaller pieces for daily practice. A 5" x 5" space limits how much I can put in a painting, helping me to keep from becoming overwhelmed with details, too.

I'm continuing to apply the techniques I learned at the workshop and I continue to be pleased with the results. And I still love my rake brush (look closely at the texture of her fur - that's the rake brush at work). I've always admired people who paint realistically but have a painterly feel to their work. I am thrilled that I'm finally beginning to see that quality in my work as well.

Another change I've noticed is that I am not depending on my reference photos as much; not painting as literally. In the photo for this piece, the light was very even and Madeleine had no shadow areas. Once I got her basic shape down, I painted from "feel" not from the photograph and I added shadows around her snout and body that were not in the photograph. I'm really happy with how this added life and volume to her portrait.

But what is off with her eyes and ears??? I can see that something is off but I cannot for the life of me put my finger on exactly what it is. If I cover one half of her face, the visible eye and ear pairs work, but with them all together there is something off. If you can spot the problem, let me know!