An Andrea

This week brought a terrific new portrait model.  Her name was Andrea, and she was a delight to chat with after the session in addition to being a joy to paint.

The painting started out well, One thing that worked well was establishing a vibrant background early on.  The main parts of her body also got blocked in along with the golden under-painting color for her cascade of hair.  You can see this color peeking through the darker auburn in the highlights.

Andrea - Digitally Extended - reduced

Unfortunately, the coloring of the face went wrong almost from the very start.  One little mistake after another piled up: at first it was too pink, then got too dull, then much darker than the rest of the skin-tone in the shadows.  The shadows were either too sharp-edged, or too watery, losing their impact.

Meanwhile, I kept trying to adjust the color of the rest of the piece to match the rapidly degrading face.  This had the effect of an arms-race in paint: when the face got too dark, everything had to get darker in order to not make it look out-of-place.

When on the brink of wholesale overworking, I landed on an okay configuration of light/shade/color for her lovely face.  With time running out on the pose, the details of her features came together rapidly, which was a boon to the goal of keeping them fresh, but also contributed to a slight cartoonish-ness.

The final touch – and the one that brought the whole thing together – was the white froth of her embroidered blouse.  This was made of white gouache laid on over all the colored areas.  Despite the looseness of loops, it lends a curious finished quality to the piece, which turned out pretty satisfying.

I can’t wait until Andrea returns next Friday.  See you all, then.

This entry was published on July 15, 2013 at 10:44 pm. It’s filed under Bold Color, Figures, Portraits, Style, The Artistic Process, Watercolors and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

8 thoughts on “An Andrea

  1. I love the fluid use of colour here Gabriel.

  2. I think this is quite beautiful, Gabriel.

  3. You could never tell, looking at the finished painting, that you struggled with the skin tones. And that is the mark of a talented painter. She’s lovely. I particularly love the pattern in her blouse. Well done, Gabriel.

  4. I don’t think I agree with your ‘slight cartoonishness’, Gabriel, I mean, I can tell it’s a painting, but it doesn’t look like a cartoon at all to me… and it looks as though you’ve brought the face back very well. I do like the effect on her blouse.

    Her expression actually looks as though she is holding back a laugh!

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