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..... as you come exploring ART materials and ART techniques with me.

31 January 2011

COUNTRY MORNING refining the likness

Work continued on the rooster, gradually adding details to the feathers. Attention was also given to refining the likeness of the portrait, bit by bit, making slight adjustments to the main features: the shading on the nose ..... the teeth and corner of the mouth..... corners of the eye....contours of the well as the positioning of the strongest highlights on the cheek, nose, chin and ear.

COUNTRY MORNING blending rooster adding hair and face details

The rooster colours were finger blended into the paper. More details were gradually added and blended in turn.
Then I returned my attention to the face and hair. Skin tones were built up to form the contours of the face. Highlights were added to the hair to indicated waves and curls.
Details were added to the udder. The back section was kept fairly plain, the closer to the face, the more detail and sharpness.

30 January 2011

COUNTRY MORNING add the rooster

The rooster was added free hand by looking at the reference photo I had made earlier. I measured his overall height and noted a halfway point which was the widest part of his chest. The widest part of his tail was also roughly at this point. With these few measurements, I blocked in his general colours, employing some artistic licence to alter his position a little to suit my needs.

28 January 2011

COUNTRY MORNING adding the bucket

When it came time to add the bucket I decided that I didn't like the look of the green plastic one in the original reference photo so I set about turning it silver. My first step was to edit the reference photo by reducing the colour to black and white adjusting the brightness & contrast. This gave me a pretty good idea of where to put the shading but I needed to see some reflections. I needed a real silver bucket. I borrowed and cleaned my husbands old concreting bucket and had a few more photos taken. Now I had some nice reflections of the handle against the bucket to work with.

26 January 2011

COUNTRY MORNING adding the cow

The cow and  arms are blocked in and then finger blended into the paper, paying attention to the direction of hair growth. At this point I became unhappy with the progress of the portraits likeness. I knew the features were located accurately as they had been measured with the grid but I was not happy with the light and shading contours. These details are equally important to the location of yes, nose and mouth if a true likeness is to be achieved.

Rather than trying to continue to build up layers of pastel, I chose to remove most of the top layers on the face with a dry paintbrush. This left me with an underlying fleshtone on which I could start afresh. I decided to leave the face alone for a bit while I focus on adding in some of the other details of the picture.

25 January 2011

COUNTRY MORNING starting the face

Using a variety of flesh tones the lights and darks  of the face are blocked in. The colours are then blended with fingers working around the contours and features. The eyes and mouth details are added and more flesh colours gradually built up. For the shadows and creases around the eyes,  mouth, ears and jawline an eraser is used gently to reveal undertones of the paper. Next some dark and midtones are blocked in and blended for the hair.

23 January 2011

Country Morning Portrait reference photos

This week we will look at painting a portrait story. The main focus will be on the face with just enough background detail to convey some personality and suggest a bit of a story. Step one is to choose, crop and assemble some  reference photos. Milking time is always a bit of a community event at our place, with the foster calf waiting for her share of the milk and the free range chooks scouting about for dropped any grain. Even though I am working in a wide open space it can feel quite cramped when everyone wants to get in on the action.

06 January 2011


DAY 2 The background is in place. Some slight adjustments to the face, more prominant lips and more hair definition.

.....Now an after thought.....should the wings be more detailed and brought to the foreground ?

05 January 2011


DAY 1 The Portrait stage is complete. Now to work on the background. My inspiration is the extract from one of Raphael's masterpieces.


As I have had so many requests for Portrait lessons I have decided to start the year with a few character studies. These will be portraits with personality.

To kick the series off I have chosen an old photo of my niece Skye. It is not a very good quality photo, just a snapshot taken with my husbands mobile phone, but the pose is too cute to resist. It reminds me so much of the little angels that Raphael painted that I have decided to use it to create my own little angel.

Hi there

My photo
Gympie, QLD, Australia
I love to paint and draw and I often teach to share my passion with others. Currently I am focussing on producing some step-by-step painting lesson dvds.