Tag Archives: portrait

obama effort

June 17th: Another president from Illinois. I painted a casein of Lincoln, now I’m attempting Obama. But it’s not going smoothly.

obama-first oil
Don’t ever paint with casein on size. It’s nothing but unending streaks. I finally used dilute varnish to isolate that, then started using oil on Obama. Of course, I streaked some defining marks, so I have to rediscover some features.
This morning I was a howler monkey, I was so frustrated (actually howling). I adore casein on marble dust gesso, so the fact it can be so different on a different ground….oh, I’ll stop complaining.
I’m posting this to give myself incentive to keep on adjusting and correcting. (several frownie faces)


June 25th: The hair is NOT cloudy. Yeah, my camera is still half-broken. The entire way through this, I make a mistake, try to correct it and the correction turns into a terrible mistake. Meanwhile, I’ve made homemade pastel sticks and tried them – nice! I’ve used two on this. I invented the hand, which…oh, you can look at the reference photo:

reference photo

The jacket, though, is wonderful. I applied glazes and it looks charcoal from one position, shift your position, it looks brown. Hold it to the source of light and you see green.

June 27th: Oh, I think I’m through touching it with pastel:



My son just snapped this photo of me drawing….uh, painting.

abe in progressWho am I painting? I’m looking at a photo of Abraham Lincoln by photographer Abraham Byers,

Lincoln by Byers, 1858
Lincoln by Byers, 1858

as he looked during the Great Debates. Now I’ve got to go bring down that eyelid.

Abe by Moon

I’m having fits with my broken camera. It takes photos now, but grayishly. The lips are not gray. Really! The casein paint was great. I used water as a medium for some fine details and washes, I added honey to some paint and blended his skin tone. The clothes are with a little thinned casein binder as medium. I just left the clothes after that and didn’t work them any more. Just a touchup with white dabs.

old cowboy

Today, 10 apr. I started an old(er) cowboy, from a copyright-free reference photo at morguefile.com.
I quickly drew him, to get acquainted with him. Hello! Oops, I drew him looking down ->

old cowboy sketch

Then I started drawing onto the canvas; remembered that I no longer use a pencil on canvas (I spanked my hand), so I painted the canvas with some water-mixable oil paintnote, actually mixed with water. And oops, for some reason, I started getting a migraine, so I crashed for a while. Thankfully, I got over it! Yay, so I took the handle of a brush and scratched out the outline of the fellow. Sometimes, I dipped the bristles in water and ‘erased’ the paint to help form him ->

start of Old Cowboy

So, that’s the beginning. I’ll post more as I go along.
Oh, I’ll show you the reference ->

Copyright-free old cowboy from Morgue File.
Copyright-free old cowboy from Morgue File.

11th: Here’s today’s work: I used yellow on his face, yes. He won’t stay yellow. I’m thinking that I’ll do different color glazes on his face, while I’m doing the shadows, etc ->

2 old cowboy

12th: When I put a blue glaze over the face today, it stuck to the yellow glaze. So, the yellow glaze wasn’t really dry. I applied oil and tried to wipe the blue off, but all the paint wiped off, down to the canvas. You can see where I started the blue glaze, under the hat.
I worked on the clothes a little. I’ll have to wait another day or two, to work on it again.
Oh, I kept getting smears on the background. I know better than to paint the background before the end ->

3rd day, old cowboy

13th: Today it was dry enough to smear some pink across the face. I adjusted the nose, the eye, chin, jaw… I added cast shadows. I worked on the hat. I was working on the neck and ear when I had to quit. ->

4th day old cowboy

17th: Well, where was I before the migraine hit? I wiped some quin magenta glaze thinly over the green hat, which you can see below, gave it a reddish brown color. I moved the jaw up. Tomorrow, I might look at it again. Oh, my camera broke. I’m borrowing my son’s camera to take the below ->

5th session old cowboy


Old Cowboy
backWater-mixable paint is best mixed with oil or a specially formulated medium. Use water and soap for cleanup.
Though I’ve found that I like to start a painting with water-mixable paint mixed with water, for a lean, quick-drying underdrawing or underlayer.

After Seated Boxer

Work in progress:
It’s 2015; time to get serious! (Yes, it’s the Year of the Serious – did you not know?)
I’ve started a painting after Seated Boxer, a Hellenistic sculpture. (read more)
In ancient Greece, athletes competed nude. I chose a side view of this statue.
I feel sorry for the guy; he was entertainment for the consumers, even in his middle years. If you’re female, you know what it’s like to be entertainment, so you tend to empathize. But I digress.
This is my biggest size so far. The board measures 24 x 30in (61 x 76cm). I think I like working with this size. I have room for details. It feels good.
The first two days, I drew with Conté crayon while looking at the photo I downloaded (I would seriously love to see him in person). I want the guy to be recognizable, but I just want to eyeball the photo Рwell, I finally took a scrap piece of paper and held the edge up to the photo in a couple places to gauge the proportions, then did the same to my drawing. ->

drawing After Seated Boxer
Drawing of seated boxer

The second day, I covered the board with paint. I had previously gessoed the board and my baking soda gesso was a little thirsty. (Did I say I’m serious, yet I used baking soda…)
The third day, I started the shading, with some burnt sienna paint I was given. Shading is the fun part; it makes the form. Except that I didn’t get enough paint on the guy earlier, because I didn’t want to cover my drawing, so I had to smear oil on the part I was going to work and then shade. I adjusted the back a little. ->

Start of shading After Seated Boxer
Start of shading

After a week of correcting, looking and shading, I’m working on the head. The curly hair is going to drive me crazy. When I finish all the shading and modeling, I’ll put on glazes of color. This photo is seriously atrocious, but I seriously don’t want to take another photo. ->

6 days of shading After Seated Boxer
6 days of shading

mostly looked at this which I found out later is a copy!
Well, I put a phthalo blue glaze over the burnt sienna, then wiped most of it off.  I put a pink glaze over the rock, which was so pink it hurt the eyes. So I scumbled a lot of white over that and lost a lot of details.
I guessed at a floor and wall corner.
I’m in misery about the head. I’ve painted much more crudely than ususal. Daubs, smears and streaks. It looks yucky close up, but the good viewing distance is about 10 feet (3 meters) away. At that distance, I can’t even see anything but daubs, smears and streaks.
I’m going to post the photo of this and think about whether I want to do anything else to it. I’m getting awful comments at home (“it’s another hurts-the-eyes painting”, etc), so I’d like to put it away. ->

After Seated Boxer
‘After Seated Boxer’, after 12 days work.

closed eyes

The beginning: A quick start at a face — I put on paint and wiped off eyes, cheeks, mouth, etc with a paper towel. ->

start of Closed Eyes
The bare bones start of a face, Closed Eyes.

Mixed up hansa yellow, quin magenta and phthalo blue.
I didn’t have time to do more and it may be a few days before I get to work on it again.

Well, the next day, I moved around some of the wet paint and kept modeling the face, I adjusted a shoulder, started thinking about how to drape the hood under the neck. I am glancing at a reference photo every now and then, but not paying a lot of attention to it. ->

2nd Closed Eyes
second day of Closed Eyes

3rd session with it: I added some coloring to the face. I mixed up a brown, applied that, then dropped in some quin magenta pigment and mixed that in, applied it to a lot of shadow areas of the face and the lips. I changed the nostrils, worked on the clothing a little, etc. But I was interrupted a lot, so gave up till another day. ->

closed eyes, 3rd session
eyes closed 3

Today, 4th time with this painting, I brought down some of the bright coloring. I put in details with my script liner brushes. Actually, I aged her. ->

Eyes Closed
4th session with Closed Eyes.

(from morguefile.com, but I can no longer find the photo that I referenced)

Looking up

I’m making little animal noises in my throat. Something’s wrong with the position of the head in this painting, but I can’t figure it out. So I give up. I ‘drew’ this with paint and brush, very loosely, and painted his features fairly quickly. I thought, “Cindy, you’re cruising now. You’re getting the hang of painting.” Uh, maybe not.

looking up
Looking up

Aha!Ray Gallon said that the nose is straight on, while the eyes and chin are tilted. So I put more shadowing on the tip of the nose, and that helped.

I looked at this: http://www.morguefile.com/archive/display/808958

Bruce turned it face down while it was still wet. I managed to save it, but who’s going to save Bruce?

Because it’s of a black guy in a hoodie, he turned it over. I’m shaking with anger. And disgust.