Paint a Portrait-Putting down the Foundation Image

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 41,678
    Artist Alexander Shundi demonstrates how to lay the groundwork for your portrait.

    Alexander Shundi: Hi, I am Alex Shundi and this is how to paint a portrait. In this clip, I am going to show you how to transfer her image on to a canvas. The first thing I am going to do is take some burnt sienna which is a warm brown and mixing it with a little bit of turpentine, I am going to make a pool of very, very, very light transparent paint. So now I am going to start to paint and I am going to basically put in just a few marks here and there just to see pretty much where I want her to exist on the canvas. I should take advantage of her shoulder. I want her shoulder to hold the corner, I am going to give it a little bit more space towards where the face is looking then in the back, I now get the basic shape and basic proportions of her face. Now I am going to measure her face and where the hair is meeting her forehead to the bottom of the chin, there should theoretically be a one-third, one-third, one-third, relationship. Now here is a simple technique that you may want to use to figure out what the right proportions of measurement of the face are. So you take your brush, you will always keep your arm locked and I am going down one-third which is the bottom of her eyebrow. I now come down one-third and it goes right under her nose and come down one-third and it goes right under her chin. What I discover by doing that to her is that she has a high forehead. Therefore, rather than here, I am going to begin her hair here. On her, I can see that the angle of her nose is about like this. I can see therefore, one eye coming in this way, one eye coming in this way. I can see that the eyebrows are going into her forehead where the eye-socket comes in and then her face scoops down and becomes the chin. The minute that I made this eyebrow, I want to go over to the opposite direction and make another eyebrow pretty much balancing the two in terms of size and being very careful as to the space in between them. Just give it a tiny bit of a shape underneath and go back into the nose, give it a kind of a volume, make sure that it stands to approximate her fundamental shape and then now is the placement to the mouth. Now the placement to the mouth is extremely important because what you have done to the whole face theoretically also gets done from the bottom of the nose to the bottom of the chin which is to say I am going to now divide this area into three equidistant parts. The mouth, the opening of the mouth that is not the lips, but the opening of the mouth, usually touches this second line. So I am going to look at her mouth, put in the opening of it, automatically, therefore, the bottom lip is going to be here and the top lip is going to be here. I am just going to put it in very, very, very lightly and check. I am going to check the width making sure that if you divide the mouth in half, because she is three-quarters and her mouth goes around the corner, this part of the mouth is actually longer than the backside because it curves in as her face curves in. I am going to make sure that the distance between the actual mask of the face which is to say from eye to eye is in the right proportion in relationship to how much distance there is between our eye and the beginning of the ear. So I am going to measure that distance on her from the beginning of the ear to her eye again, using the same technique of the brush and then I am going to move over once and go from the beginning of her eye over and I see that it hits right about here on the nose. So that means that this distance transferred over to here means that her ear is now born here. So therefore, here ear is going to take up about this much territory. Therefore, her hair is going to be behind it and as I do this, you will see that I left a little bit of space here on the left hand side so as to involve and invite the viewer into the painting. Quickly, quickly another thing is I am going to squint. By squinting what happens is that you do away with detail and you retain the maximum information as far as the dark and light is concerned. I see that this part of her nose is in darkness, this part of her face is in darkness in comparison to the rest, this part of her forehead is in darkness. Simultaneously, the same thing is going to happen in her hair. So I am going to lead the light of the hair on the left hand side which is where the light comes from relatively, light at the bottom now. I am also going to make the bottom part much darker than her body really is so that I can get a sense of light and dark. Now in the next clip, I am going to show you how to mix the colors.