This afternoon, I joined Suchitra Bhosle and several other painters in Suchitra's studio. Our portrait model was a very beautiful young woman named Kiersten. This was my second session with Suchitra, and this time I felt that I began to understand her approach. She emphasizes "true' values and their intrinsic interrelationship. It's hard for me to put into words...and for awhile, even harder to capture with a brush, but slowly I begin to understand. At first, the painting seemed dull, with a gray cast to the skin that was very difficult to accept. But I resisted throwing in my traditional skin tones and stuck to the program. I tried to meticulously judge the value and temperature of each brushstroke to the preceding brushstroke, and to my utter amazement, it began to work. I'm very pleased with the result.
Interestingly, for me at least, was that the 'value approach' also
changed the way I painted this portrait fundamentally. Normally, I
make a fairly detailed brush drawing on the canvas and then begin to put
in darks, midtones and lights. In this case, I did nothing more than
establish a general oval of the face, and a vertical and horizontal
'cross' to get the tilt and placement of the eyes. At that point, I
started putting down values once by one, in essence drawing with the
values rather than with lines. The head grew outward from the eye
sockets, in a sense. Very different for me.
I can't wait for the next session with Suchitra.
Kiersten Oil on stretched canvas 12" x 16"