Saturday, December 30, 2006
Making the leap from tight detail work to a much more 'loose' style has proven to be quite a journey for me. I've been particularily fascinated with the paintings of Jean Haines aka Aquarelle10 on WetCanvas. Her style is so removed from what I usually do that I felt challenged to give this a try. In July of this past year she did a wonderful tutorial in the Learning Zone on painting children and I've been studying it recently for this portrait. The subject is baby Ellie, my dear friend's first granddaughter experiencing her first Fall lying in the autumn leaves and obviously enjoying herself.
This painting is a dry run(a bit of a misleading statement as this style is done very wet) for the completed portrait. The paper I've used is not my favorite...a cheap store bought brand that loves to buckle the moment it gets wet and(I'm guessing here) is not good quality rag. It's good enough for trials and testing mixes, though. I did a quicky sketch without worrying too much about a likeness at this point.
One of the tricks to this style is selecting what's important and pertains to the subject and getting rid of unnecessary details. Cutting things down to the bare essentials, so to speak.
Secondly, keep washes light and very wet. I believe Jean uses the word 'whispery' a lot. After each wash has completely dried more washes can be added to build color and create contour and volume. She paints in suggestions of detail rather than actual D-E-T-A-I-L and isn't afraid of the dreaded backrun but instead uses them to her advantage. I call this style of painting controlled chaos but I'm sure Jean would disagree on the 'chaos' part. For me, it's still chaos but in a fun way.
Even though I wasn't really concerned with capturing a likeness at this point I was surprised how much this first attempt resembled my subject.