Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Daily Painters International Art Challenge: Music

hi there!

lately, i've not been able to comment on the blogs of folks i follow - i'm disabled, & sometimes i can't do much, either painting, blogging, or - worse! - reading & commenting on other blogs! i really miss being able to do that, & i'd like you to know that, when i've not been commenting for a while, i'll get back to it just as soon as i can!

today, i did have some energy - & i spent it painting! oh the joy of getting back to putting brush to canvas! i've been working in stages on the daily painters international art challenge for this month, which had a one-word prompt - music.

now, when i think of "music," the first thing that comes to mind is my friend, joseph byrd. joseph is one of the great, important composers of the 20th & 21st centuries. he also plays a mean accordion! so i decided, despite my never having painted a portrait before (& having drawn faces just a few times!), i'd do a painting of joseph.

to start, i did a manip in gimp to play with some ideas. i used a favorite photo of him, taken by H. R. LoBue of H. R. LoBue Fine Art Photography. it was a black & white, so i played with the colors & added a background. i put in some place-holder music, & then got a copy of a sheet of "Water Music," one of joseph's compositions, to paint in. in the end, though, i decided the music was too busy for the painting, & just did the portrait.

here's the original manip:

i chose an 11x14 canvas panel which had been toned with acrylic cad yellow light. (the color's not showing well in the photo, but it was pretty pale to begin with.) i did the grid then sketched in the portrait, with just the barest hints of features.

i wanted the background, hat, & coat to be earthy, sepia colors, so i started working with trans orange oxide, trans yellow oxide, naples yellow (for the right side), & burnt umber & a smidge of payne's grey (for the upper left corner).

then i put in the hat & coat, using mostly a combination of burnt umber & trans yellow oxide, darkened with a bit of payne's grey in places, & lightened by the orange oxide in others.

for the face colors, i chose hansa yellow (i think in other brands, lemon yellow would be the closest), indian yellow, permanent green light, alizarin, & prussian blue. i started putting in the pink, yellow, & orange, using burnt umber for the shadows & glasses frame.

then the greens & blues went in.

after that it was 'merely' a matter of getting the features just right. for the next three hours!! i worked on the face shape, the beard, the nose shadow, the shadow under the chin, the glasses frame, the shadow under the hat, the eyebrow, the placement of the colors to show facial structure, and - the eyes. getting his left eye just right - oh wowie! i think i redid it about eight times - and the highlights twice! but finally i was able to step back & say, hey! it's joseph!

i'm pretty excited about it! i've always felt that portraits were terribly daunting - & it was a lot of exacting detail work - but now that i've done my first, it's not quite so scary any more!

thanks for stopping by - take care till next time!


p.s. i'll be gone from the computer wednesday through friday, so i'll be catching up on my blog reading - & commenting! - after that - see you then!


  1. Oh my god, that's completely awesome! I am thoroughly impressed, not that I wasn't before, but I think you have a special talent for portraits. Must. Do. More!

  2. teehee! thank you! i was so surprised when it really started to look like him! & i really enjoyed going crazy with the colors!

  3. Wow! Love to see your process. What a great result. I'm so glad you were well enough to create. It brings joy like no other (in my opinion!)

  4. Beautiful, really. i find portraits are real challenges everytime, but so rewarding. Thanks for introducing Joseph to us. Helen

  5. Dusty, I do hope you feel better soon. I will be sending you healing thoughts of love.

    This is amazing! For never having done portraits you are off to an incredible start here. Beautiful!!

    Feel better!

  6. very nice work so clean and crisp. love the colors too.

  7. thank you, helen! i agree - this was one of the most rewarding paintings i've done - now to do one from life!!

  8. thank you, elizabeth! really there is no feeling like that of the oil paint going down - painting in general is so all-involving!

  9. thank you so much, suzanne! the fun - and the challenging & the scary! - thing about painting is, each new painting is a new mountain to climb! doing these challenges for a beginner painter is like jumping in the deep end to learn to swim!

  10. thank you, rachel! i had secretly hoped that playing with the colors would make it easier (!!) but nope! but it sure was a good way to start being looser in my interpretations of things!

  11. This is great You've really got "him" and love seeing all of your steps.

  12. thank you! it really is great training for becoming aware of tiny details! i sometimes have trouble remembering to take photos, i gt so caught up in painting!

  13. I really like this one! Love the composition.

  14. thank you, sheryl! i'm glad i decided to keep it simple & not add the musical notes!

  15. Dusty,
    Your works are very good, you show us the steps,
    this is so generous and interactive with us, thank you!

    and I loved this work in particular!
    so beautiful! is my favorite!
    loved it !!... I love music!

  16. thank you, denise! it was quite a surprise to me how much i liked it when i was done - had really been dreading trying a portrait!


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