Heather portrait, part 2

September 2, 2008 at 3:54 pm 1 comment

This is the rough second stage of the portrait of Heather.  I don’t know what other painters call it but I refer to this stage as the “color block” step.  That is, the colors are blocked in in approximately their final locations, but there are no details and there is lots of spill-over from one shape to the adjacent one.  With these big flat blocks of color in place I can see where the problems are.  And there are a bunch of problems.

First, the background colors are overpowering.  I think I should be able to suggest tropical foliage without using such bright greens.  Second, the deck is too big and too light in color.  Third, where her dress meets the chair arm on the left side of the canvas is awkward.  I painted the dress longer than it was in real life and now I’m confused about what to do with it at that spot…so, I will probably shorten the dress.  Fourth, the shoes are too pink; I’ll tone those down.  I painted the shoes with smaller straps, but I think I’ll make them have a looped tie on the top of the strap for interest. 

Originally I wanted to make Heather’s dress white linen with an elaborate Victorian lace collar and cuffs on the short sleeves.  What was I thinking?!?  I can’t paint elaborate lace…and I don’t even want to try because it would detract from her beautiful little face.  I’ll put 90% of my time and effort into painting her face, arms and legs…and let the clothes, chair, deck and foliage be sketchy and painterly.

The next step is to fix those problems I mentioned, above.  If you, kind reader, see anything that you think should be changed or added, please use the comment form to tell me about it.  I welcome all feedback.  Really.


Entry filed under: Portraits in progress. Tags: , , , , .

Sketch of Heather Rocky…a painting of a handsome fellow

1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. justwilliams  |  September 4, 2008 at 8:55 am

    Am following this with great interest because this is where I usually come unstuck.
    There is something about the chair leg on the right of the picture that is unsettling me – I think it may need to be moved slightly to the left, with a similar but smaller adjustment to the chair arm above it.
    I would also tone down the deck and reduce its rear edge, making it horizontal.
    Finally, yes the background colours seem a bit strong (though toned down and a bit more blue and they might recede). I think the real problem here is that the background is too “busy”.
    Well, you did ask! But by all means take no notice – I did point out that this is the stage at which my paintings come unstuck. Good Luck.


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