Painting Demo at Scottsdale Artist's School

Getting a likeness with no features

This is a demo I did during my week long workshop at the

Scottsdale Artists' School, April, 2014.

As you can see I didn't get very far, but believe it or not I accomplished my goal. The main principle I wanted to impart was that features are not really what makes a portrait look like a specific person--it's the big shapes. During the week, this study was seen by many people and everyone who saw it knew instantly who the model was.

Students: So think about that the next time you're painting a face. Try to paint it with no features then step back and ask yourself if it looks like the person you're painting. 

 "...If you work on a head for a week without indicating the features you will have learnt something about the modeling of the head." --J.S. Sargent

My second goal was to work with temperature to turn the form because there was a very tight value range in the face. Meaning, other than the darks in the eyes and hair and the highlights on the skin there were only two values. So that gave me a lot of room to play with color variations that were in the same value range. Sorry the photo really doesn't show those little variations- it's a bit blurry.

The other major principle I discussed during this demo were edges and how powerful they can be in drawing the viewer's eye to the center of interest.