Week 11

Today we started a new project. Last week I asked you to decide on a portrait you would like to paint. This could be a portrait where you try to create an actual likeness of their image or it could be something more abstract. It could be an attempt at representing a feeling you have about that person or a personality trait that could be completely abstract.  

I will be trying for a pretty accurate likeness with my demo painting but all the techniques I show you will be just as applicable to abstract images.  

Today I started with a full-size printout (12"x16") of the face I am working from, which is my daughter Eden's face. I used tracing paper to trace the outline of the head hand and shirt. You might choose to trace more detail. I will be adding more detail to this tracing at a later stage but for the moment I just need the big shapes.  

I then placed the tracing paper on top of my canvas and decided exactly where I wanted the face to be. While holding the tracing paper in place I put red transfer paper between the tracing paper and canvas (just like you would with carbon paper - color side down). Then I drew back over the lines on my tracing paper to transfer the lines to the canvas. 

I mentioned two ways you could find and apply collage elements to the portrait: 1. you could cut or tare out pieces of paper to fit the outline on the canvas or 2. you could do a transfer drawing (just like we just did with the transfer paper onto the canvas) of a complete shape of paper and cut it out so it is the exact shape you need it to be. Using the tracing paper you can find the exact part of the paper you want to use for the shape you are making. 

I think we often get it in our heads that we find interesting pictures, cut them out and force them into a composition we find interesting. Using traced shapes and transfer paper allows you to have more control over creating the exact shape you need rather than relying on what you can find.  

In my demo I did a transfer drawing of the hand shape onto a piece of newsprint. So you will notice that the hand is one solid piece of paper while the other areas are a bunch of smaller pieces. There are advantages to both approaches.  

NEXT WEEK: there is no class.  

IN TWO WEEKS: come with you portrait already started. I would like you to have the basic composition done and the basic shapes already collaged in - no blank canvas showing. I will finish covering my canvas before next class. In my next demo I am going to show you how to use transparent layers of acrylic paint to fix values and reduce the contrast in your collage elements. I will provide you with acrylic paint if you don't have any of your own.