10 August 2007


Winsor & Newton CP 300gsm 14" x 10". 3 hours.

another freehand portrait from my biweekly or so sessions with stefanie, this one drawn in charcoal and "tinted" in watercolor, after the 18th century style of drawing/painting. in this profile you get a better sense of her strong features, which i wanted to emphasize by simplifying the hair.

i mentioned in a previous post that complexity is always the opportunity for artistic simplification, and here i have reduced her hair to ribbons of color. really only three values -- highlights or "shine through", body color and shadow color -- are necessary to model hair adequately, but by adding more value steps many beautiful patterns can be created.

every person has a unique "hair print" or hair profile, and it is for me important to describe that with the same detail as the features of the face. in particular the stray tendrils or "flags", and the curl at the end of the locks, are usually very individual.

the background in cobalt blue was stamped on with a flat brush, slowly, so that the brush strokes partially dried before they fused. the hair is raw sienna with shadows of sepia hue, and the face is gold ochre. i used backruns to shape the lights and darks, again trying to use the minimum transitions necessary to show the form.

1 comment:

W. K. Moore said...

Straight forward Bruce. I'm enjoying the simplified shapes and patterns - especially the hair. The background texture is really nice and I appreciate your technique description. The blue provides a key complement and is not overpowering. I'm attempting to match a blue of a weathered building in a current painting of mine. I can't do it with transparent watercolor (yet). I can match it perfectly in opaque and I believe it is because the blue has a lot of white in it. Without white I can't get it... hmmm.