Thought I'd share with you a little bit about how I approach my oil painting for a portrait. I like to start at the focal point, which for a portrait, is always the eyes.
Just as I approach my drawing by shapes, I tell my drawing students to notice shapes and to draw the shapes. In painting I do the same and attack the focal point the same way, looking for the color shapes. (Please excuse the phone pics)
Apply the color shapes one next to the other. Where the color shapes meet, blend softly.
I paint wet-into-wet one section at a time.
It is helpful to lay in some color in the background that can be used to softly create "soft" or blurred edges while the paint is wet. Some edges should fade or gently blend into the value of the background.
Glazes are added to brighten the color of the cheeks, nose and ears. The middle part of the face has more color in it than the top or bottom the face.
The white of the eye is never white, only the highlight will be white.
For Marie Donato's Oil Painting Classes offered - click below.
A constant love of mine, and an almost lost love, is oil painting, but I am happy to share with you now, that OIL is back in my repertoire and I am loving it!
This portrait commission painting was the catalyst to get my can in gear. Such an adorable face was my challenge! I was so taken by the quality of her soft, young, porcelain-like skin. I knew that achievement would be the goal as well as captivating those beautiful blue eyes.
You may be wondering why oil painting seemed almost lost. Well...when I started my professional painting career my art studio was directly off my bedroom. The problem was a practical one, using oils and turpentine or mineral spirits then - was quite smelly. There are much improved products available now.
So I went the watercolor route for my career, then followed by adding pastel painting. I have enjoyed teaching and sharing what I've learned in both watercolor and pastel.
Oil painting is once again in my studio and I've since added oil painting lessons to my classes offered. Learn more about my art class information page.
Students of my pastel and watercolor classes joined me for a fun inspirational field trip to the St. Louis Art Museum's Degas' Exhibit!
Edgar Degas, "The Millinery Shop", 1879, oil on canvas
Edgar Degas, "Little Milliners", 1882, Pastel on paper
Luxurious lunch at the museum's beautiful Panorama Restaurant.
We couldn't help but be inspired for our next painting project. We were all so taken by the amazing exhibit...Shall we choose a still-life for our next painting?... Better yet, I asked, how about painting a still-life with HATS inspired by Degas?
So, yes, "The Millinery Shop" by Degas, was chosen for the inspirational painting and Degas was to be our mentor....Being influenced by the best!
We brought in our hats, hatstands, scarves and ribbons to make our still life display.
I asked the class to choose a part of the display that was pleasing to them to start their paintings, isolating a few favorite hats for their composition.
Look at the great progress!
Continued great progress! Stay tuned for the final pastel and watercolor paintings.
Thank you to the St. Louis Art Museum for bringing together this exceptional exhibit, "Degas, Impressionism & the Paris Millinery Trade".
This was my Portrait Drawing Demonstration for the class "Drawing on Toned Paper" held at OA Gallery. I was using black charcoal for the darker values and white charcoal for the highlights .
Learning to draw on toned paper using black and white charcoal, helps greatly in understanding value tones.
Here are some of the steps in drawing a portrait on toned paper. The drawing is started lightly in the beginning. When the likeness of the eyes are getting closer then I'll start to establish more of the darks. Until then I keep the pencil marks light in case I need to erase.
Here the dark values are established in the drawing. In a portrait the eyes will always have your darkest dark in the pupil of the eye and at the lashline.
Using toned paper instead of white paper helps you to obtain your darkest darks and lightest lights while letting the paper be yourmidtone value.
A white charcoal pencil is used to show the highlights.
This is the stage where values are checked and corrected. They help to show the three dimensional quality in the drawing.
The portrait demo is finished and ready to be put in a frame!
The portrait is complete! It can be viewed at OA Gallery in Kirkwood, MO.
Working on toned paper is a beautiful and classical way to draw, which dates back to the Renaissance.
Look at these beautiful drawings! Everyone did a fantastic job! What a great class!
Would you like information about my art classes? Check out my classes here on my website.
Four Reasons I love teaching adult art and painting classes.
1) I love seeing those smiles! When a student finishes a painting, I love seeing the smiles that show their sense of accomplishment from completing a beautiful work of art that they did!
2) Watching a student's progress is amazing! When a beginning student comes to my class with no art experience, I always tell them "Don't worry that's fine. Just the fact that you are here in class shows me you have the desire to be an artist and that's all I need to know." My job, then is to give them the "tools" necessary to progress step-by-step as an artist. I totally love that "aha" moment! One student explained it this way, "Marie, you gave me the recipe, now I can do it!" So please don't hesitate if you are a beginner. I would love to have you join us.
3) I teach in order to share what I've learned over the years. Being able to share with my students is such a privelege. My goal is to meet each art student at their own level and bring them up to the next. My students range from an absolute beginner up to a more experienced intermediate level.
4) I love meeting new artists and new friends! The first day of class is always so fun for me when I can meet new art students. My students help me grow as an artist and instructor. They are the greatest!
To start, I loosely block in the shapes with pencil and powdered graphite.
Here is a step-by step demo showing how I develop a portrait graphite/charcoal drawing.
Here, I start to develop the face of the portrait, working toward getting the likeness.
Once I feel comfortable with the face, I move down to the hand, arms and shoulders toning in form and capturing the shadow play of lights and darks from the sunlit window. I am using graphite pencils as well as powdered graphite.
Here the fabric layers of tulle of the ballerina's dress are developed. For the contrasting darks in the eyes and hair, I am using charcoal pencil.
At this stage I am refining and tweaking everything making fine adjustments. To help with the highlights of the skirt I sharpen up the edges of the fabric with an eraser.
I have the best art students! I would like to share a few pics from previous art classes. The sessions are 6 weeks. Beginner and intermediate students are welcome. Choose from Pastel, Watercolor and Drawing Classes. Registration is underway for my next session, July 21- August 27. For more information click here.