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WIP - Red Lady Finished

edited November 2017 in Post Your Paintings
Having finished the "Carmen" portrait I am ready to start a new project "The Red Lady." As you can see I am not starting with a meticulously detailed line drawing as Mark instructs. However, I have developed a similar process that will allow me to correctly draft the image as it develops. Happy Painting All!



  • Speak more of your process @tgarney ; - it would be interesting and educational to hear variants
  • Were you influenced or inspired to paint this lady in red by the song "Lady in Red" by Chris de Burgh?
  • OMG!!!   I LOVE red and I think this is going to be fabulous.  I once did a large canvas with a dozen red roses with a red background with a greenish vase - reds are so beautiful in oils.  I can't wait to see this progress.

  • I follow several photographers on Instagram. This is a photo by Ion Paciu, who granted me permission to render it as a painting. The "Red Lady" was just a name I thought was descriptive, as he had not named his photograph.
    First step in my process is to download the jpeg of the photograph I am going to paint onto a flash drive.Then I go to the local printing service and have them make me two copies. One is a full scale grey copy and the other is a color accurate print that I have them laminate. All this only costs approx. $5 and takes about 20 minutes. I can drop into the print shop, show them what I want and wait while they print it out. I'm in and out usually in under an hour. As you know Mark prints out and laminates copies using his own equipment. I cant afford a big printer or a laminating machine so I had to find an alternative. But this approach works well and is cheap, cheap, cheap. I have used it 3 times now with the same print shop and they know what I am going to have them do when I walk into the door, so it goes pretty smoothly.
    Second, mount the full scale print as you see in my photo. This is just like Mark teaches.
    Third, draw the basic image onto your canvas. Mark's method works good for this and creates a very accurate line drawing to paint against, and I suggest sticking with his method. As you can see I didn't. I drew the line drawing with an ink like consistency of paint instead of using a charcoal pencil. Usually raw umber works best for this since it will dry really fast and wont slow you down. 
    I know you are already saying that this violates the DMP process, but not really. You still have to draw what you are going to paint and it has to be accurate, I just did it with paint rather than charcoal.
    I will post the under painting next week and explain how I use it to produce accurate drafting. Happy Painting All
  • Oh, boy, all that red! This will be hard to pull off but if you do it will be stunning. I look forward to seeing it develop.
  • @tgarney   thank you for sharing your process!  That sounds perfect the way you are preparing.  I think red is much easier than green and it is so much more beautiful (for my eyes) - I think this is going to be fabulous!!!

    I don't get how this violates the DMP process?  It seems lately that many people here are wanting everyone to follow the DMP beginner steps for oil painting all the time.  Mark (and even his wife) are showing their works in oil and are painting freely or even in some cases, Mark is painting stunning paintings from his imagination.  I think your process is still on the strict zone of the DMP process so if anyone suggests you are violating something, I think that is absurd.   I can't wait to see your next update!
  • Next Step - I have completed the under-painting and letting in dry. As you can see I am basically using the under-painting as my line drawing. When I first started painting I kept covering up the lines in my pastel line drawing with paint. As a way to overcome this I figured it would be just as easy to paint the lines in, rather than draw them. As an added bonus if you combine white with your burnt umber you can develop some rudimentary values at the drawing stage. The trick in either approach is how to get the dimensions correct? Especially in a portrait painted from a photo reference.

    As you all know the Cartesian coordinate system (X & Y Axis) enables us to accurately locate any point in 2 dimensional space. This is the method Mark uses to ensure accuracy of drawings. (Some folks go so far as to use a 1 x 1 grid approach) These are workable methods and will produce extremely accurate drawings (assuming you don't paint over the lines and lose the location.) But these methods also take a lot of time and are very tedious to execute (if you have a touch of OCD you are golden).

    But, if you are like me and have some ADD I have a hard time forcing my self to push thru the tediousness of using the Cartesian approach. So I use the Central Point, Angle and Distance approach to draw accurately.

    Here is how to do that: 1.Determine an easily located point on your reference drawing. I like to use the corner of the subjects right eye. Mark this on your reference drawing then mark it on your canvas a accurately as possible.(see the little black dots in the corner of the right eye?) 2. You have already painted a rough sketch using burnt umber. Now begin checking your dimensions by placing you calipers on the Central Point, spread them to an specific land mark on the face, then move the calipers from the reference drawing to your canvas.3. Place one leg on the Central Point you have established on your canvas.Hold the calipers at the same angle they made between the two points on the reference photo. Now mark the specific point on the canvas with a thin line of paint. 4 Repeat this process until you have the key elements of the face lined in. 5. Step back and compare.Using just your calipers go back and forth, checking the dimensions. Don't be surprised if one or two distances are off. They are easy to correct at this stage. 6. As you make line corrections go ahead and brush in some rough values, this will help you see if you are capturing the expression. At this point you may feel you only have 95% of a likeness and the expression is off just a bit. Don't worry, you have a long way to go before this work is finalized. I find that the last 5% of the expression in a portrait is best accomplished as you put the final details onto the work. As you can tell from my example the expression is off just a tad.(mainly in the corner of her mouth)  I will dial that in as I do the painting.

  • Closing in on the final stages to complete this project. I am having some problems mixing dark skin colors using the Burnt Umber as the darkening agent. A lot of the time it just looks brown and not a realistic shadow skin tone?? Any Ideas on a better way? Thanks,

  • edited November 2017
    I use a mix of burnt umber and french ultra marine blue.
  • Wow, you had a tube of red paint you wanted to use up, huh?  Just kidding.  This is very nice.  I think her right eyebrow, and the shadow under the right eye are over defined, and need to be lightened/softened, but I'm comparing to a b/w photo I can't see that well, so perhaps I'm mistaken.
  • Nice! The red is amazing. Did you use cadmium red? 
  • Should the lions be blended a little more to show applied lipstick - it's very good my comment takes nothin away it's great well doneb
  • Thanks everyone! This is the first portrait I have done that I like. It is done with Cad Red Light and Chromatic Black to create the change in values. I painted this as accurately as I could from the reference photo. Think I will try a landscape next. )
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