Week 3

Mixed Media Portrait (week 2)

This week I talked about one of the inherent difficulties of collage. With collage we are often taking bits and pieces of a bunch of different images and trying to organize them into a cohesive composition. With so much interesting visual information it is difficult to keep a viewer from getting distracted by something that is not important to our intended subject. 

At the end of my demo last week I was left with exactly this kind of problem. I had the general shapes of a person and I was satisfied with how I had organized those shapes on my board, but it is pretty chaotic and it is not very clear where I should be looking. There is no sense of space or form even though I can recognize the outline of a person. 

The black splotch on the left side of the head and hat is where my eyes go first. Then there is all the bright colors in the bottom right corner and an interesting contour line at the top of the hat. Take a minute to notice where your eyes are drawn to. It is not very interesting to look at because there are very few indications of how what we are meant to look at. We can assume we are meant to see a person but there is little there telling us what is of primary importance.

Value (light and dark) contrast is one of the most powerful ways to create areas of emphasis. There is too much value contrast at the black splotch on the left side of the head and hat and there is not enough value contrast everywhere else. Today I took black and white acrylic paint and made them both very transparent by mixing them with a lot of matte medium. I addressed general value relationships. For example the skin areas are much lighter than the coat so I built up transparent layers of white for the skin and layers of transparent black for the coat shape. Establishing these general value is an essential step in creating a the illusion of three dimension. 

Next week we will continue to refine the image with skin tones and facial features.