Day 3 of Charles Reid Workshop-Painting Portraits

We had a black model, Madison to paint from. Charles was a bit uncomfortable in sketching Madison because she was so pretty. He said, give me a scruffy ol' guy and I have no problem painting or sketching him, but pretty women are harder. Needless to say, he started his sketch over three times before he was satisfied enough to paint from. (That definately made me feel better- others in the class as well I surmise).

Final sketch after 3 tries

Our model, Madison

Charles said make sure you have a 3/4 view of the model. For his first sketch, he started drawing the silouette first. On his second attempt, he started with the eyes first. On the third attempt, he began with the silouette then going back to the facial features after drawing the body. He marked the eyes as an oval then marked the nostrils to make a triangle. He went back and erased some of the lines in order to lose edges.

Charles putting out fresh paint

As always, before starting to paint, Charles puts out fresh paint- this is key in painting the way he paints.

Using Cad Red, Ultramarine Blue and some Raw Umber, Charles began the painting starting with the underplane of the nose with a size 6 brush. Then using existing color on paper, he lightens the color value with a clean brush. The upper lip was outlined with Carmine and then softened under the nose.

This is key to his technique- He draws with pigment then softens and loses edges as needed.

Skin tone. Using Cobalt, Cad Red and Burnt Sienna, he uses a larger brush to paint the skin. Starting at the forehead, he bleeds the skin colors right into the hair. Burnt Sienna and Burnt Umber were used for the nostrils.

Skin tone

Face Wash. Colors used: Cad Red, Burnt Sienna and Cobalt. With a size 8 brush, he applies a wash on the cheekbone going darker over the hair next to the forehead where he eliminates a boundry.

And, the drips and splatters begin! At this point, the colors look a bit dark, but watch what happens when he puts in the darks (hair). He said not to overwork the hair. Starting with the big shapes then put in the smaller shapes in the hair as well as under the chin.

One point Charles stressed is that most Artist will try and paint a definate chinline. He said not to separate the face from the neck. Don't make the darkest dark in the shadow side- give the illusion, not the reality.

Notice in the finished painting (below), you can see that he placed the darkest dark next to the lightest light (the eye) which is where he creates the focal point where he wants the viewers eye to go.

Finished Portrait painting by Charles Reid

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