Friday, June 14, 2013


The watercolor class numbers fluctuate all the time.  I have 2 beginning students in the Tuesday morning class and now have 1 beginning student who comes on Wednesday for private lessons - until she gets up to speed enough to join the Tuesday class.  I have had as many as 5 students around the tables (2 of them) at one time.  

This past Tuesday morning, I had one student doing the Portrait in Payne's Gray (Winsor Newton, not any other brand) a la David Lobenberg and his wonderful DVD.  I didn't show them the DVD but just showed them David's technique using only Winsor Newton Payne's Gray to build up values and create a portrait.  It's a good way to get over the fear of colors and lessen the need for so many choices when tackling portraits.  I did let them use my drawing and trace it so they didn't have to worry about drawing the portrait as well as painting it.

The Payne's Gray portrait is where we start - to see our values and learn our shapes before tackling color.

(This is my version, done when I first watched David Lobenberg's DVD - which you can purchase from his blog sidebar.)

This second one I did with the student last Tuesday morning while she was doing her version.  Very different even though I was using the same drawing to trace onto the paper!  I like the first one - on Fabriano 140# cold press - more than the second one - on Arches 300# cold press.  I like the blossoms and flow of the first one more.  Neither painting actually looks like the model (the photo of which is included in David's DVD).

While the first student was doing the Payne's Gray version, the second student was doing a color version.  I had her use only 3 colors - Quinacridone Rose, French Ultramarine Blue and Raw Sienna - to do the same portrait again.

This is my version, started while she worked on her version (which turned out much nicer than mine and she actually finished her version in a high key and beautiful way!).  

This one of mine actually looks more like the model.  It's on Arches 300# hot press paper (why I have 300# hot press, I'm unsure, but I have it, so I used it - it's very unforgiving and once the paint is dry, you can't move it or soften edges much at all).

So, while I'm talking and teaching and helping, I'm also painting so they can see how I do it (not that I want them to do it THAT way but see a different way and perhaps watch for a minute, how I lay down colors wet in wet).  I will probably wait and finish this in class next time we meet, when the first student will move to the color version.  I really like the look of my work at this stage - before I fuss with it and lose lights and ruin colors that, right now, are so fresh and clean! ha ha  Of course, you can't just start paintings and never finish them - so this will take another layer before I can call it done.


Debbie Nolan said...

Rhonda - what a great portrait and super idea just using payne's gray for the values...interesting how different papers look when they are used with the same drawing. Thanks as always for sharing what you know and do. Have a great week-end.

Kevin Neal said...

I like the top painting the best for the same reasons you did. It looks looser in all the right places. Very good. I use Paynes Gray as well for "black and white" paintings. I think it moves better than black and seems to show better middle and light values.

CrimsonLeaves said...

Love the first and last versions, Rhonda. I do like doing tonal portraits. For some reason, I just have so much fun with them.

RH Carpenter said...

Debbie, I got the idea from the David Lobenberg DVD - it's worth buying and keeping in your DVD library.

Kevin, yes, that first one flows like watercolor, doesn't it? I like sepia for the same reason - it seems to flow well and you have a monotone but not black and white.

Thanks, Sherry. I haven't done a lot but probably need to do more before doing more colored portraits - it does help you find your shapes and concentrate on them when you don't worry about getting the right pink or blue on an area :)

laura said...

OMG--these are fabulous, superb!! (And a great advertisement for David Lobenberg's dvd, which I am going to buy immediately!)
I often want to paint faces, but then I look at my refernce photos--and look at your work here--and realize I need to consider the lighting more, make it more 1) descriptive and 2) dramatic.
Your lucky students!

laura said...

... and I think the 1st one works better for me because of the values--dark hair; lighter background--which you reversed in the second.
(I find Arches paper harder to work with, more scratchy; paint seems to flow easier on the soft Fabriano surface.)

RH Carpenter said...

Laura, thanks so much! I think you'll enjoy and learn from David's DVD :) I think Arches 300# is too scratchy and heavy for me, too, especially when painting wet in wet which needs to flow for a while over the paper before settling in. Although tons of artists love it. To each his own, according to style, I guess :)


rhonda touch in the bottom version rhonda ... like the top version david 's dvd must be excellent hhis portraits are increbile.

debwardart said...

Excellent job on all, but probably #1 is my favorite. Keep up the good work.

RH Carpenter said...

Thanks, Jane and Deb :)