Painting @ The Torpedo Factory – Week 2 recap

Started from here going into the 2nd day of class.

Well, now we’re getting to the nitty gritty: color. I know I should be champing at the bit about this as an aspiring painter, but I was just about ready to pull my hair out at the thought of it! I always experience a certain level of anxiety when starting a painting. It’s just like when I start anything new in life, I can have the best of plans going into it but I really don’t know what’s going to happen…and 9 times out of 10 it never turns out the way I thought it would (and that can be in a positive or negative way)! Week 2 of my portrait/figure painting class had me experiencing both outcomes.

First we’ll start with my homework. I was so excited to do it actually. I planned to do a still life and I was so confident it was going to turn out to be an interesting piece. The assignment was to spend no more than 2 hours on a color study starting with a hot orange for the light, and a cool blue for the shadow, and try to achieve the actual colors of the object (local color) from there. Well, somehow I forgot that I had to use the hot/cold colors to start off with and I ended up with this:

WTF? How the hell did I make this?! Terrible! Needless to say that I was NOT looking forward to sharing this with the class. I couldn’t decide which was better: bringing that sorry painting in as my homework or pretending that I just didn’t do it!

I decided to face the music like a man.

The good thing was, I knew that I can do better and I knew exactly what was wrong with the painting (besides completely forgetting about the color study setup – how did I do that?!). I needed to paint faster and thicker because for a 2-hour painting, it looks so undone. I also need to punch up those colors! So next time, I know I will be able to step it up correctly and possibly avoid some pitfalls. When it came time for the critiques, Danni, our teacher, basically said, “You tell ME what’s wrong with this.” Damn. Well, at least I expected that. I guess it could’ve been worse! 🙂

The upside to this though, is that Danni seemed to be impressed by my work in the actual class. I’m starting to better understand the concept of a color study, and after a bit of stalling by painting the background a little longer than I probably needed to (hehe) I finally dove right into it. Honestly I’ve been approaching this painting with a lot of hesitation. It seems like with every new piece I’m afraid that I’ll discover I’m not as good as I think I am. But I have to be brave and keep trying anyway, right? Funny how the things we learn in making art can apply to everyday life…

At first my painting was looking like The Thing from The Fantastic 4! Starting off with such extreme colors is so new to me, but I went with it and tried to recall the demo from the 1st week. Surprisingly, to me at least, Danni was pleased with my piece. She continued to give me encouragement throughout the day and reassured me that I was doing well. I was very skeptical at first, but I did begin to see what she meant as I kept going. I’m starting to get a bit of a luminous skintone just from the color I’m adding on top of the orange and green. Who knew!? Now I’m getting excited about how it’ll turn out. Here’s the progression throughout the day:

Added color for the background, and Cadmium Orange for the skin in light

Used Permanent Green Light (I think that's what it was) for the shadow, then started using mixtures of Permanent Rose/White on top to achieve skintones. LOTS of blending and pushing color into color.

Started dragging color to other areas of the painting. This is where I left off.

Homework for this week: A 2-hour color study starting with a Lemon Yellow/White mixture for the areas of light, and a Permanent Green/White mixture for the shadows. Pray for me ya’ll.

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