Monthly Archives: November 2009

Claudia Carr sessions

Closing in

There is something almost spiritual about many portrait sitters that comes from a the combination of stillness, a posture that has been deeply relaxed into and the concentration they bring to the act of staying still.  Certainly there is with Sven who morphs to another state when he is sitting. I tried to capture some of this sense in the drawing what I was seeing in front of me as well as the sense of light falling across the face and range of colours vibrating in the darks,.

I contrasted working on creating space for the figure (the last blog entry)  with a large head close up.  Working on the spacial painting in the morning and this head close up in the afternoon.  Interestingly the actual painting of them was not as different as I thought it would be.  They were still about capturing form and colour in each mark.  The main contrast was in setting the composition.

I have been experimenting with multiple colours on each brush stroke, as a way of giving more definition and direction to each brush stroke as well as more vibrancy to the paint.  One of the learning experiences with this painting is to make sure that the tone of the colours is equivalent.  Otherwise there is a streaky effect which should only be used with care and can disturb the tonal structure of the picture.  It also raises the issue of the colours not being near complementary, because of the tonal impact from the inevitable partial mixing.

More Paint!

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Claudia Carr sessions

Creating space in portraits

I really enjoyed the 3 weeks of painting, life and portraiture with Claudia Carr.  This picture was a departure for me, looking with a broader vision to create a space in the picture for the subject to live and breathe in.   The main point is to be able to set the model against other things in the picture, providing contrast, tension and a space for the viewer to rest in.  The figure links with the pot and sofa on the right hand side while sitting in contrast with the light fitting in the top right.  This light fitting increases the drama in the space, making the figure doll like and vulnerable in the enlarged space (look at Giacometti paintings).

There are other similar relationships, the verticle feel of the figure and the wall buttress set against the squat box and sofa, also the contrast of the spheres and circles against the squareness of the box.  The depth of space is created with persepctive, use of shadows and reflections, the overlapping horizons of the models right leg, the box, the figure over the ball, the buttress and pot then the red sofa and finally the light fitting the top right.

You can see a larger and better version of this picture by clicking on the thumbnail in the Life page of this website.

I recommend Claudia’s work which you can see on her web site.

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