“Life and Beauty”, 22″x28″. Oil on canvas.
This was a commissioned piece that I just finished last weekend and finally sent off to the client two days ago. It’s going to be auctioned off at a fundraiser to raise money for the Amarna Project, an organization that promotes the study and preservation of the ancient Egyptian city Tell el-Armarna. Within the perimeters I was given for the piece, I decided to make my own version of Queen Nefertiti with the sun god, Aten, in the background.
Believe it or not, the opportunity was posted on Craigslist! My coworker sent it to me. (It helps to tell people about your artistic aspirations! You never know who will be willing to help you out.) I don’t have a personal artist website set up yet, but I sent the contact the link to my work on this blog and voila – I was in business. It was the first time I ever had to sign a real artist commission agreement. I’ll even get to take home a percentage of the sale at the auction, which is a luxury when donating work to a fundraiser.
As easy as it was to obtain the commission, actually painting this piece was a challenge for sure! This was ambitious for me because it’s bigger than I normally work, and it’s a portrait for which I had no visual reference. I wanted to just work from my head. Needless to say, the vision in my head was a bit different than how it was shaping up while I was painting. I reached a point in the middle where I really became frustrated and couldn’t even look at it. I just couldn’t get the skintones to work the way I wanted for the life of me. Through a bit of trial and error, somehow I pulled myself together and pushed through it and I’m quite satisfied with how it turned out.
Would love to know what you think!
I have a few days off this week, but the work doesn’t stop.
I spent most of the day working on this study for a larger painting that I want to do. I thought that I would practice the technique I learned in a painting class I took in the spring, where you set up the painting by over-exaggerating the colors in light and shadow and then paint your way out of it. The instructor called it a color study. I think the whole point is for me to achieve colors that look like actual skintones by the end of the painting, but so far when I’ve tried the technique I keep ending up with these rainbow tones. Doesn’t look bad though! But for the big one, I think I’m going to try to push the colors a bit further so I’ll end up with some colors that look a little less saturated and more like some skintones.
Here’s the progression:
I feel pretty good about this study. I was nervous about overworking it, so I just came to a safe stopping point and took note of areas that I thought were too red, too light, etc. This will be a good reference for when I go to make the official version!
Continued to lay down colors where I thought I was seeing them in the photo. I had to do some of my own modifications to maintain some dimension and visual interest to the form.
I exaggerated the color of the light and shadow areas, this helps to bring some luminescence to the painting. Sometimes this is the scary part!
Used a mixture of burnt sienna, black, and white diluted with turpenoid to lay out a relatively flat oil sketch. Decided to omit the hand for this small version. I don’t know why I did all those random values and details, they were just going to get covered up. lol
This was a picture I took with the camera on my phone (forgive me) one night when I was up really late and bored. Later I thought that it would be cool for a painting. I took it into photoshop and adjusted the image to improve the color information.
Anyone try this particular color study technique before? Feel free to leave feedback!
Day 3 was a really tough one for me and the beginning of Day 4 was no different! I was struuuuuggling! But, fortunately I was able to get some help and attention from the instructors and I started to feel a little bit better about what I was doing. Honestly, I’m still not completely happy with this study but I DO think that I’m in a better spot than yesterday. Check out the pics:
Now it’s starting to get difficult.
I became really frustrated today while I was working on this study. I must’ve been having an off day or something, I don’t know, but it seemed like nothing I did looked right. Plus I think I’ve fallen behind too…everyone else in the class seems to have their paintings much more developed by the end of the day. My study doesn’t look terrible, I guess, but today I just couldn’t help feeling incompetent! Anyway, hoping that I’ll be able to work it out in the next class! Here are the couple of pics I was able to take:
The exercises from day 1 weren’t worth photographing, but day 2 marked the beginning of the long pose that we’re going to work on the the rest of the week. Here is the progression of my study on the first go ’round:
I had to make some tweaks to the torso shape and the shoulders, then move the feet over a tad bit to readjust the weight distribution. The day ended with just a general blocking in of the light and shadow shapes, although unfortunately my light value ended up being too light. It’s not the worst thing though, I still have a chance to paint my way out of that!
I did a quick study of an apple last night. Nothing too deep about it, I just felt the need to complete SOMEthing. Going to try to do a new painting tonight too! Stay tuned…