Alla prima paintings are completed in one sitting. When I paint a portrait this way, I draw with my brush, minding the spacial relationships between features. Next, I lay in the darks using full color, to support the forms of the face. The midtones, the lights and their transitions blend into the previous wet passages to complete a loosely painted portrait. This one layer painting allows me to break from the confines of too much detail and preserves the energy captured at the very start of a painting.
12″ x 12″ Oil on Linen
Portrait of T. Oil on Linen 20″x 29″
My favorite post of the week. I’ll be back when I finish several WsIP. Till then, thanks for your “likes” and comments. They add fuel to my productive fire:)
Detail, Portrait of T
Oil on Linen 11″ x 14″
This week I will be posting work realized during my long blogging hiatus. This is the first of several portraits of red heads. I love colors found in the skin tones and hair highlights of red heads.
Lots of paint, loose and moody. Both are oil and relatively small, 11″x 14″ and 8″x10″ respectively.
Oil on Linen 24″ x 24″
A portrait of M. and a house sparrow.
Oil on linen 24″x 30″
I haven’t posted for quite a while, but I’ve been working on the “Cloaked” series and larger figure paintings.
Though I employ friends and family to pose just as models, these paintings most often turn into portraits, like the one above.
While struggling with the dark “Cloaked” series, I felt compelled to search for a little light. This is one of two recent pieces expressing that urge to find the light. Tomorrow, another light seeking painting.
Occasionally, someone will ask about my painting process. I have in the past, posted my usual digital painting and oil painting process. But once in a while, I’ll choose this method. It’s not an overall block-in, refine and refine again way to work. It is instead, a little by little fill in method. While this technique can be fun, I don’t recommend it to anyone who is just starting to paint. Nor is it a way to work with a live model as your subject. But, if working from one of your photos, it’s a nice change of pace.
Most painters who use this technique virtually finish an area before they move on. I continue to go back and rework, just not as much as I do with an overall blocked- in underpainted method. Many artists who employ this technique use far less color and create much tighter paintings. My finish (below) is about as tight as I like to get, regardless of the method. But next time I work this technique, I’m going to limit the color significantly. The color here is a little too exuberant. Color, edges, highlights- all fighting for attention. So next time, less of everything:) I’ll let you know how it goes.
Oil on Linen 24″x 24″
One of those paintings that I keep fussing with. I’ll probably give it a week of rest and then fine tune it a little bit more.
Oil on Linen 14″x 18″
Alla Prima, with a concentration on my subject’s gloriously chaotic curls.
Oil on Linen 24″x 24″
This painting has been “finished” for a couple of weeks now. However, I’ve tweaked it almost every day for the past two weeks, each time thinking “ok, now it’s finished”. It’s finished:)
Oil on Linen 24×24″
A product of my recent exercises in backlight and line. First in a series.
Oh, and I’m pleased to share that my work and links are now included in the directory/gallery of the curated site, Figurative Artist.
Oil on Linen 18″x 24″
It’s pretty cold out there! I’m constantly pulling my coat a little closer.
An alla prima oil 11″x14″
Oil on 17.5″ wood panel
While shopping at Home Depot, I spotted a wooden disk that I had to have. While it’s ridiculously heavy and I have no idea what it was created for, it served as a terrific surface for this painting. I think I’ll pick up another panel next time I’m at the Depot.
Portrait of G. 11″x14″ Oil on Linen
Portrait of R 12″x12″ Oil on Canvas
For those of you working in traditional oil paint and solvents, this experiment might be of interest to you. For this painting I used the least toxic solvent and medium I know of: Weber’s Turpenoid Natural and Liquiglaze Natural. They work! The upside is breathing a lot easier. The downside is a gloppy and heavier feel to the paint. My brushstrokes are visible, which for this painting, is just fine. The Liquiglaze does speed drying time and does respond as other glaze mediums but, not quite as well (in my opinion), if one is interested in a smoother and multi layered glaze. I have not mixed these “natural’ products with their more toxic cousins. And I probably won’t take my experimenting that far. Right now, I am reserving the “naturals” for projects that seem simpatico with their effects and what I’m trying to achieve. Perhaps with more practice I will be able to do myself and the planet a favor and use the “naturals” exclusively. BTW, Turpenoid Natural is fantastic for cleaning and conditioning brushes!
Other projects however, do demand Gamsol or Turpenoid and galkyd glaze mediums. I have however, just purchased a tube of Gamblin’s solvent-free gel. I’ll let you know how that works for me when I give it a go.
Does anyone have any experience or opinions on the efficacy of the “natural” less toxic products?
11″x14″ Oil on canvas
I’ve been fussing with this painting for weeks. Lots of thin layers, lots of glazing. I’m still not quite sure if it’s done. Time will tell me…
A quick self portrait. It’s not particularly flattering but it is indeed, me.
This one is more tightly wound than I would like. I was so enchanted with the light on the hair and face, that I got carried away. I should have gone alla prima with this. Instead I blocked it in (thinly under painted hues and values), and kept refining to achieve more detail, in order to work all those little hairs. If I were to paint this again, I’d let go of the detail, keeping the painting looser, in order to capture the feeling of joy and abandon. Instead, the expression took a back seat to all of those tiny little hair highlights.
I’ve been oil painting almost exclusively lately, weighing different techniques against one another. I tend to paint tight more detailed work only when it feels right to me, depending on what I’m trying to achieve. But, I must say that working alla prima-direct to surface, wet into wet in one session, like the painting above, is loads of fun.