copyright 2010, Jan Blencowe
acrylic on board
It's always good to challenge yourself. Push into something that you don't feel comfortable or confident with yet. It could be a new medium, a new size or a new subject.
I don't have very much experience with the figure and practically none with portraiture (something I have avoided like the plague, unless the subject was a canine!). This winter I found an open studio with a model and for a very reasonable fee I can show up and sketch and paint for three hours on Sunday afternoons.
At first I stuck to vine charcoal and some pastels. The I began working with GraphiTint pencils which you can use a wet brush with to create washes and once I began doing that I knew I would switch to painting.
I was a little nervous about the switch, wondering if I would be able to manage the drawing aspects along with value and color. But I find it much easier than drawing!
One thing I did do to make the daunting challenge of painting the figure more managable is use a limited palette. For this painitng I used Buff Titanium (which has a warmer cast to it than regular titanium white), raw sienna dark, prussian blue and transparent red oxide. This simple palette provided everthing I needed to render the figure in soft believeable tones.
Another thing I did was lay in a modulating background using all 3 colors plus the buff titanium before the class. That way I had a toned background to work out of and could focus my full concentration on the figure.
I am far from an expert when it comes to figure work but I'm finding that stretching a little is very satisfying and a great way to pass the winter months until it's warm enough (and interesting enough) to paint outdoors again.
I have 8 paintings in the Pre-Spring Show at The Gallery on Main, 990 Main Street, East Hartford. The opening is Thursday, Feb. 18th, 2010 6-8pm
If you are in the neighborhood I would be delighted if you would stop in and say Hi!