Tuesday, 19 March 2019

Family Portrait Drawing Complete!

It's been 2 years since the last family portrait was done.  Since then I have added another grandchild and our beautiful 12 year old dog.  It's 111cm x 76cm.  I have lightly gessoed over the pencil drawing so it doesn't muddy up the paint - particularly the lighter tones (e.g. skin and white clothing).

Thursday, 21 February 2019

Feathers, Feathers, Feathers

When I drew up the eagle, I only outlined the bigger feathers and the more intricate feathers on the wing.  So as I paint downwards (I nearly always paint left to right, top to bottom as I am right-handed), I am using a mid-tone colour to outline the larger feathers first.  As I fill them in, I can add smaller ones in-between.  Don't worry if the tones aren't right - the objective is to outline and fill in the blanks, leaving it to dry to go over again next time.

Monday, 28 January 2019

Portraits with Coloured Pencils

I have expanded my range of pencil colours slowly and as needed.  I think I have the appropriate colours for a light flesh tone now and it is looking much more realistic. 

Wednesday, 16 January 2019

How to Draw Hair with Coloured Pencils

My granddaughter has beautiful curly hair - but what a nightmare to draw!  I've taken up the challenge and have learnt a lot about coloured pencils.  One thing I have learnt is that they are very different to using oils.

The hardest part is going from light to dark and leaving highlights alone.  Once you've darkened a spot that should have been a highlight, it's pretty much impossible to make light again.  But I have learnt a few tricks.  I have a mechanical eraser which is very useful for tiny spots to be erased, but it does tend to rough up the paper. 

Then there's the Posca white pen with a fine nib, but it can blob a bit.  I then am able to go over the white with the appropriate highlight and smooth it off.

Sometimes, just pressing down firmly with a sharp white pencil or very light colour can help to lighten dark areas too.

Also you can employ contrast to bring out a highlight.  I have surrounded the highlight with an even darker tone to make it appear lighter.

Well, looks okay so far - now for the left side of the face!!

Monday, 7 January 2019

Let's Paint a Wedge-Tailed Eagle!

For the orange/brown feathers, I have used Burnt Umber (for the darks), Burnt Sienna, Red Gold and Cadmium Yellow Deep.  For the blue/grey feathers I have used Ultramarine Blue and Burnt Sienna.  I started painting the feathers by using the appropriate mid-tone colour to basically outline each feather.  It's a slow, tedious process I know, but this is quite a big canvas, so detail and realism is essential.
By the time you have filled in the feathers with either a darker or lighter colour, it is too wet to sharpen any edges.  So at this stage I will leave it to dry, or go on to another part of the bird, and bring it into focus by adding darks and highlights later.

Sunday, 16 December 2018

How to Paint an Eagle

As with all my animal and human portraits, I started painting the eyes first.  Get that lovely dark orange iris in first before dirtying up the colour with a dark.  Leave a little line of white canvas for the eye's reflective light so that you can fill it in with a very light blue later.  For the dark iris and shadows under the eagle's brow, I initially used just a dark Burnt Umber and Cadmium Red mix.  When the eye was dry, I then darkened up the pupil with a black and went over the eye's reflective light with a touch of white.

Beak next - I washed over her beak with a very light Burnt Sienna.  Burnt Sienna mixed with Ultramarine Blue makes a lovely grey.  I added this to the ends of the beak and for shadows.  I gradually painted darker shadows to sharpen the beak and tiny feathers on her nose.  The gap between the beak is a fairly red/purple, gradually darkening where the gap is wider.

You can see that I have then just loosely brushed in some colours for the feathers.  I'm using Burnt Sienna, Red Gold, lemon and some Cadmium Red for the browny-orange feathers and the Burnt Sienna with Ultramarine Blue for the blue/black feathers.

Sunday, 2 December 2018

Keeping the Background Out-of-Focus

I have tried to soften the background as much as I can for now by re-wetting and feathering off any hard edges.  You still need the darks and highlights to give the painting depth - it's just the edges that need softening.  Anyway, I'm going to leave it for now and start painting the bird.  Once she is done, I will be able to determine if the background is soft enough.