Paint a Portrait-Applying Color & Creating Form

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 35,063
    Artist Alexander Shundi provides tips on giving your portrait shape and color.

    Alexander Shundi: Hi, I am Alex Shundi and this is how to paint a portrait. In this next clip, I am going to show you how to apply a color to this foundation. I am going to do so by using a color that we mixed in the last clip plus turpentine. Now try to remember that this is going to be a very quick demonstration and normally speaking a portrait is going to take a lot longer than it might seem looking at this video. So while I have a color, I am going to try to put in areas that are cool and warm and dark and light. I am going to put in a cool shadow right now which is a little bit blue because shadow gives a tremendous amount of information.

    A little bit too much, so I am going to take some off with the rag. I am going to go back into it with some more light and while I am at it I am going to do a little bit of a middle tone here just to get rid of the white basically. Now as you can see that many colors are beginning; just beginning to have a possibility, the nose is darker underneath so I am going to cup it with darkness and what thats going to do is it is going to literally bring it out of the face. The idea of portrait painting just like the idea of art in general is to see and not just to look. Underneath I have also noted that there is a little bit of cool dark so I am just going to put it in a little bit and the whole border of her chin is going to be a little bit little bit cooler as well.

    Go into the eyebrow, jump over to the other side and specify the shape of the eyebrow and then I notice that this whole situation is a little bit too dark, so I am going to lighten it up right off the back by doing this and the white will make it cooler. I am going to just get a whole bunch of dark tones. We are using a lot of turpentine right now including some greens which I like because green is a wonderful color. On the other side of skin it supplements the color of the skin and I am going to just fill this in very, very, very quickly just to get rid of the white and you will see that as I do this, suddenly the portion will start to look a lot brighter.

    In classic portraiture, whenever the hair is dark, the background is light. Whenever the face is light, you exaggerate the darkness behind it. Thats an old trick that Rembrandt used to use a lot. In that, the sitter will start to pop out of the painting. I can start to go around the face this way. Its not defined at all. Right now it is just as dark as I actually see it being without any detail, without any highlight. Again, just to get rid of the white and then put a little bit of darkness behind the interior of the hairline on the other side of her face that I will later on blend into a yellower(ph) color. While I am at it, I might as well see where else it needs cooling. It needs cooling here. Put it in here like this; make it come around the corner. Do the same thing in here because this part is a little bit round this way. So in here, it is very light in here so we may go a little bit darker. Its going to set to define the form of the shape.

    Now what I am going to do now is I am going to get a dark middle tone and I am going to redefine a little bit of the form of darkness on both sides of the mouth, the underneath of the chin. I am going to go around and I am going to blend everything now because I dont want things to be too offensively hard edge. So what you want to do is you want to keep the integrity of each color while in between the two, have an area that will lead from one color to the other. In order to do that you have to locally blend just at borderline between the two areas very carefully.

    For now, let me cover this whole thing with a little bit of darkness and I am going to now smooth it off along the sides, not too much because a portrait can get to be really slick by doing that too much. I am going to take a little bit of yellow. I am going to kill(ph) it with a little bit of brown. I am going to mix it together and I am going to get a tiny bit more red. I am going to get kind of a middle tone color that I see her hair is being. You will see what happens once I cover the painting with this tone. Once I get rid of this white. The painting is beginning to look like the model. In the next clip, I am going to show you how to put the last finishing touches on it.