Jacob volunteered (for the second time) to pose in the place of a scheduled model who couldn't pose. Short of time, coming to the session late from a meeting, my initial plan was to do a simple monochromatic oil wash painting using transparent oxide red and a little mix of viridian. But just before I was about to wipe out strong lights with Turp, I changed my mind and decided to do some "play with color" and finish it with a look of a vignette illustration.
I used 3-color limited palette of ivory black, burnt sienna and yellow ocher to paint Daniel. It's always fun to explore the varying colors in a dark-skinned person. Also, in this painting, I wanted to convey the sense of Daniel’s presence and weight (not literally, although he is a big person). For that, I should've used a larger canvas.
While waiting for Faith to arrive, I splattered a very thin (too thin, it turned out) mixture of cadmium red and blue black. I didn't have many specific ideas about this. I just did it. Her dark hair and the highlights from her make-up presented a striking contrast, but the painting itself shows her somewhat moody appearance.
I used a lead white-primed linen canvas to paint Kim. Though the background was very dark, I decided to use the stark white of the canvas as the background of the painting. Instead of making her head look emerging from the darkness, loosing the shadow side of her head to the background, I wanted a clean-cut appearance of her head against the simple white. For some reason, there wasn't a single highlight or reflected light on her glasses. I could've put in one or two specks of it to show the effect of glass, but I decided to paint the way it appeared.
To paint Gabriela, I reused a canvas on which I had painted a model at an Academy open house the previous Saturday. The dull pink tone of the canvas was the result of the wiped-out painting. A couple of unique things from the beginning: First, a rich color on her face that ranged from light brown to ocher to muted green. Second, her massive hair with much color and shine. (As I surveyed the pose at the beginning of the session, I commented, "That's a lot of hair, Gabriela.") I wanted to keep her hair simple and not have it dominate the painting, but in the end I couldn't resist the temptation to lay in some cool highlights on the curls.
Stacey is the Academy's Career Services Coordinator. Painting Stacey, I used a square linen canvas I bought on sale some time ago. I chose to paint her in profile to offset the square dimensions of the canvas. At the beginning of the painting, I started off the painting by laying down some spots of green background and cadmium red scarf as well as high key of her blond hair to let the strong colors work together in my vision.
Paintings in this blog are head study paintings done in Friday Painting Club with students at the American Academy of Art, where I teach oil painting classes. They are painted in oil from life as we take turns posing for each other during a 3-hour session.
Although this blog is mainly about paintings from the Friday sessions, I plan to post additional head study paintings from other occasions.