Today we started a new project. We will all be working from the same reference photograph for this project. I chose an image that I thought most people would be ok with. In the past I have chosen images that weren't popular so I tried to be safe with this one! A lovely young woman.
I thought a while about how I wanted to approach this demonstration. We have done portraits many times in the past and as I usually do I wanted to come up with a way to teach this that addressed some of the challenges I've seen you all struggle with in other projects. One of the great challenges that most artists face is over thinking and over protecting. It is hard to feel like you don't have control over something or that things aren't going as you expected. So I decided I wanted to come in today and make a mess of things. I sat down not really caring too much about getting things exactly right. My goal was to play with the paint and very loosely start bringing in some elements of the portrait we are painting.
The idea here is to just let yourself get started and enjoy playing with the paint. Start loose and messy. For this approach I want you to think of it more as a sculptural process. We are going to get material out there and start pushing it around and help it take shape like we would with molding clay into a sculpture.
Oil and acrylic paint are very forgiving. This can give us the freedom to take risks and be willing to let go of trying to control things so much.
So today was mostly about letting loose a little and playing with paint while very vaguely starting to suggest the values and shapes of the reference photo.
NEXT WEEK: we will continue with this portrait. I will focus more on reproducing the photographic more accurately and start refining some details - all the while trying to keep some of the freedom we started with this week.