Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Portraits in limited palette

The mother of 2 little girls asked me to draw portraits for them.  I saw this as an opportunity to try a limited palette.  Inspired by an instructional video that I have, called, "The Portrait in Three Color Chalk" by Robert Liberace, I set forth creating my interpretation of the photos that were provided to me.  

The title of Liberace's video might make one think he actually used chalk (pastel) in his demo, but he did not.  He used colored pencil, a medium I am quite familiar with.  I believe he calls it "three color chalk," because it takes on the look of the 17th century sketches by Peter Paul Rubens, and that of Jean-Antoine Watteau in the 18th century, who used sanguine, black, and white chalk on a colored ground.  Although resources and available colors might have been limited centuries ago, it is still a good combination for skin tones and yields a "timeless" effect.  It mimics a fuller palette of colors because each color can substitute adequately for any color on the color wheel.  Sanguine represents anything red, pink, or orange that is visible on the subject.  Black, applied lightly, substitutes for anything blue, violet, or green.  White creates highlights and blends with the other colors to create more colors.  The yellow paper can show through and visually mix with colors as well.  The viewers mind adjusts for the limited colors and understands the interpretation.

"Vanessa"    9" x 13"   Colored Pencil



"Vivienne"   9" x 13"   Colored Pencil

I, however, varied from this a bit and used terra cotta, ultramarine blue, and white colored pencil on Canson Mi-teintes paper (Honeysuckle color).  My camera always distorts color, and try as I might with Photoshop Elements on my computer, I could not get my digital images to match the artwork exactly.  It's always best to just view artwork in real life, face to face.  That being said... these drawings, along with other paintings and drawings of mine, will be on display through May and June at the Greenfield Banking Company, in their second floor gallery.  Some works are borrowed from my beloved patrons, and some are for sale.  I appreciate the privilege of exhibiting there.  Thanks to Dad and Mary for bragging me up! ;)