Thursday, February 16, 2012

Paint a Friend...Lose a Friend? AKA How to paint halftones.

This is hot off my easel. A portrait I did this week of an old friend of mine who hopefully will remain a friend when he sees it. The old Victorian master John Singer Sargent said you lose a friend when you paint a friend.

I was really thinking not only about the sitter here and why haven't I painted him way sooner because of such a great face????,  but also about halftones throughout this piece.

I painted it in about three hours using just three colors on a hot ground trying to mix the 'exact color value' I saw as I went along concentrating on three values for the light and two for the shadow.  Mr. Morgan Weistling here talks a lot about this value range in his excellent painting DVDs as does Mr. Everett Raymond Kinstler, my mentor, here about exact color value in his crazy good teachings. I admire both master artists very much and they have taught me
priceless gems.

Now I truly believe it to be the only way to paint. Fast results. Simplify what you see. Make the choice to render it this way. Edit what you see. Five values. Students in my class seem to have the hardest time understanding how to paint halftones. Halftones turn the form in the light away from the light and are never found in the shadow. But the halftone mix is subtle.  More subtle than you might think.  Too dark and your sitter's cheeks will have dents. Too dark and your apple will look bruised. But I guess the art eye has to first be able to SEE a halftone before it can understand how to paint it simply.

Anyho...I liked what I got. I post the progress. Hope I didn't lose a friend. I will keep you posted.

Study with me every Wednesday morning at The California Art Institute, Westlake Village CA.

And also this spring/summer semester at The Los Angeles Academy of Figurative Art, Van Nuys, Ca.  Class starting Friday April 20th. Voted Top Ten teaching school in America.

Private instruction ---email me.

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