29 April 2009


watercolor on Arches HP 300gsm, 14" x 10".

more than half my session with trinity was spent on portrait photographs with a variety of tops for color contrast. trinity mentioned she felt tense in front of a camera, but this image is from the second half of the session when she had relaxed into the work.

this hot pressed paper is well sized, making it easy to lift paints, but also producing a whitish, pearlescent effect in colors laid on as several juicy layers. trinity's hair is jet black, but for color interest i first blocked the hair in with sepia, then built up the blacks with overlapping sections of perylene maroon, phthalo green, pyrrole orange, phthalo blue, dioxazine violet and nickel dioxine yellow. once these had completely dried, i cut into the glazes with a moist, 1/8" acrylic flat brush, scribing the plaits and highlights and revealing different color mixtures in the process.

the skin tone is diluted chromium titanate yellow, with darks in cadmium orange, cadmium red and benzimidazolone brown, all muted with tints of phthalo green. the background is two layers of quinacridone violet. she has striking, hazel yellow eyes set in a black iris border; i painted these with green gold, then glazed with perylene maroon to get the right hue.

trinity enjoyed the portrait images enough to post a dozen to her facebook page. i'm glad she likes them.

TECH NOTE: i've recently discovered that i have to choose the option "discard the embedded profile (don't color manage)" in photoshop before posting images to the web. for some reason, files that retain the camera image space lose color balance when compressed on blogspot.

24 April 2009


watercolor on Arches CP 300gsm, 14" x 10".

a figure study from the trinity session. this is one of the first poses, and while it is not one of trinity's favorites, i liked it enough to work up as a color study.

i am drawn to this pose because it is frank and confident. the woman has her own space, which is a brilliant deep blue (rough layers of cobalt blue deep, phthalo blue and ultramarine violet), and she does not characterize the viewer through her stance. she has a well formed, capable figure, feminine without weakness and healthy without sensuality. the panties domesticate the image and add whimsy as well. i spent a lot of care on the facial portrait, though it is only the size of a dollar coin. the hair was fun to paint, and i made it dark brown rather than her black to show the plaits more clearly.

trinity has a pale, creamy complexion that i used a new mixture to reproduce. the flesh tone is chrome titanium oxide dulled with ultramarine, tinted with pyrrole orange, phthalo green, indanthrone blue and quinacridone magenta. the photograph does not reproduce the modeling well, which is very lightly done.

trinity's hands

watercolor on Arches CP 300gsm, 10" x 14".

these are the hands of a young local woman of polish english descent, who works in web site design and is exploring a variety of alternative and tribal healing practices. she complimented my paintings and consented to model for me; we had a very enjoyable and productive session. she was confident for a first time model and gave me many good images.

usually i ask the model to present her hands in front, which means the thumbs will be turned outward when the palms face up. i asked trinity to drape her hands behind her back, over a chair, to get this image. i like it because it mimics the right and left hand of two individuals touching.

trinity was a gymnast in her early teens, and i learned from her about gymnast mental preparation. the background here is mostly cobalt teal blue, which resembles her "power color". i tinted it slightly with yellow to sharpen the contrast with the skin tones.

the flesh base tone is chrome titanium oxide, muted slightly with ultramarine, then tinted with pyrrole orange, burnt sienna, quinacridone magenta and phthalo green. the sleeves are cobalt teal mixed with cadmium scarlet, painted in overlapping strips to produce the ribbing in the fabric. shadows over skin tones are always challenging, and i like the way these turned out. (colors are more accurate in the full sized image; click on the image above.)