After the Slumber Party (8 x 10) sold
This Friday, my daughters went to a slumber party. Predictably they stayed up until one. They got up at eight. When I picked my girls and a friend of theirs up at noon, they had just finished breakfast and were wide awake and chattering. We stopped to drop our guest’s things at her house and then took all three girls to library. Chatter, chatter, chatter. A very late lunch at the Road House followed. Chatter, chatter, chatter.
It was it was 2:30 by then. The chatter continued through lunch. But Road House lunches are heavy and plentiful. Stomachs full, the girls were suddenly overwhelmingly tired. My youngest leaned against her friend and both girls would have fallen asleep right there had we let them. I snapped a picture.
Today I painted it. I did my best to correct the ugly green blue light of the restaurant. I made red-purple shadows of blue green ones, and removed the excess pink from their faces.
The palette is cadmium red, cadmium yellow and cobalt blue. Which the exception of some yellow ochre along the jaw lines, those were the pigments I used on the faces. I defined the eyes, nostrils and shadows in cobalt first. Then I painted the faces working mostly wet into wet.
The girls’ hair is various combinations of burnt sienna, cobalt blue, and yellow ochre. I used these three for the brows and lashes too. I added a little phthalo blue to the jacket and the wall.
purchase a print at Fine Art America.com.
Morning Changeling (8 x 11) $125
This is my eldest daughter in the dark end of the family room with the morning sun lighting up half her face. I ended up printing my reference photo three times in various stages of overexposure to get the feeling I wanted for the sketch. I used all three prints when painting.
I’m still working on painting loose and free. I worked quickly wet into wet, taking care to make the sunlight’s edges the only hard edges in the painting.
The palette was simple: quinacridone gold, quinacridone deep red rose (which I only used for accents in her skin) burnt sienna, and phthalo blue. I emphasized the yellows and oranges to keep the feeling of sunlight.
This painting is currently hanging at Art in the Valley in Corvallis, Oregon but you may still purchase it on-line on inquiry. A limited edition print is available through my Etsy shop.
Hat and Shoulders (9 x 12) $100
For this watercolor I worked from a candid snapshot of my niece taken a couple summers ago. She wore the hat everywhere we went. I don’t have many pictures of her in it though, because that was the summer she was camera shy.
I had fits getting this painting right. I tried it and failed twice on Tuesday.
Two problems. First, I love the effect of the strong light on her hat and shoulder, but the light on her face is very low contrast and the color temperature varies enormously. Getting the subtle value changes and temperature changes in her face was difficult. Second she doesn’t have much pink in her face under neutral light, but her blouse bounced purple pink light up into her face.
Both of my Tuesday paintings contained too much pink and exaggerated the temperature and value changes in an unflattering way—she looked like Rudolph of Red Nosed Reindeer. All of my favorite skin reds for light complexions reds (alizarin crimson, rose madder, and quinacirdone) stain so her red nose was there to stay.
I took Wednesday off to think and painted something else instead. I began again Wednesday after dinner, resolving to keep my palette limited and to introduce value and temperature changes slowly. I began with a unifying wash of cadmium yellow and cadmium red. Then I laid in the pinker skin with cadmium yellow and alizarin crimson wet into wet. I added the blue tones to the ailizarin mixture rather under-laying it. I used the alizarin crimson with cobalt blue for her blouse to unify the reds. The result was still a little too much, so I washed burnt sienna over her skin. That helped tone it down a little more.
I think she’s much improved although still not as pretty as the real girl.
Or Purchase a quality reproduction of this painting here.