Thursday, September 16, 2010

"100 Faces, No. 23"

4 x 4"
oil on masonite
sold

There are a few things with respect to painting I'm sure of - whether you're working from life or a photo, paint what you see and not what you know. When I started this series of faces, I didn't consider myself a decent portrait artist - so I approached it, much like I do in any subject, as a landscape of colors and shades. Yes it's a man, yes it's a nose - but not much different than hills and valleys. There's depth, dips, protrusions, highlights. You just map it out like any other subject or scene. I try hard not to start with the greatest intention of 'likeness' - I just work with areas and count on the end result - a leap of faith every time.

I've said this before, but I'm sure that my brain follows the general mood of a subject or scene - not so much consciously, it just seems to happen. If a face is somewhat soft or delicate, my painting turns out soft or delicate. In this case, the face is harsh, rough, aged. I ended up with greys mixed with colder reds - took an old, worn out brush and scrubbed the background around the head. Very cool result.

I'm very sure that if you paint, you should constantly challenge yourself with different subject matter. Down the road, you'll feel a lot more confident with larger, more realized paintings. My best analogy is cooking - the more recipes you try, the more natural it comes to you when you decide to use pork instead of chicken.

Back to work....



11 comments:

RHCarpenter said...

You seem to carve the features with your paint and brush, much like a sculptor with her hands. I so enjoy seeing your portraits and all of your paintings. Being a watercolorist, I also enjoyed seeing your WIP with the chocolate background (although I missed the chocolate color at the end), and how you ended with the lights (something I have to start with and retain).

Linda Popple said...

As always, your painting is just fabulous! Your commentary is also good and I either learn something new or am reminded of something I've taken for granted or forgotten. Thanks!

Anne Marie Propst said...

Love the analogy of cooking! This one does look rough and rugged and the gray tones support that perfectly.

Roxanne said...

I can see you are not a decent portrait painter; you are a wonderfull, excellent, magnificent portrait painter!

Ann Rogers said...

Another winner! These are just getting better with each new portrait. By the way, congratulations on the article in Southwest Art, that's pretty special..and well deserved!

Portrait Painting By Johanna Spinks said...

Ahhh...Lucien Freud would be proud...congrats on a find job

David Lobenberg said...

Right on! and ride on, Karen! Words of wisdom, indeed.
Love your hills, valleys, knolls, and crevasses.

Nadine Robbins said...

Nice work

Sharon P. said...

Can't tell you how much I enjoy your portrait series. These paintings are so unique, and I look forward to receiving them. I always find your comments very helpful in understanding your approach to each subject. I keep hoping that you will put all this into a another book that isn't sold out!

liz wiltzen said...

Super strong Karin, bravo.

Erik said...

Hi Karin,
I really enjoy reading your about your thoughtprocess on these. Thanks.