Head Study in Backlight

"Head Study in Backlight" Oil on Linen--15" x 15"

A lot of learning how to paint involves learning how to move from one skill to another.  Starting out simple is best, adding a bit more difficulty with each new painting.  Attempting too much too quickly can lead to unnecessary frustration.  I wanted to try painting skin tones in shadow while still getting a sense of sculpting the structure of the face.  The backlighting here provided the perfect setting for this kind of challenge.

I also made the decision to keep the color palette limited.  My choices were primarily determined by the background color, which was green.  Learning to use color can be made much simpler by limiting the colors on your palette, so I decided on a complimentary color scheme.  One of the most intimidating things an instructor said to me when I was a beginning student was to paint exactly what I see.  Yikes!  I had no idea how to do that.  One day the skin tones looked bluer to me and the next day they looked purple!  So I kept changing my painting, trying to paint exactly what I saw.  What a nightmare!  Many frustrating days of painting!  Now I just paint the colors that I think look best and that work together well, and I leave it at that!

2 comments on “Head Study in Backlight

  1. Gloria Bottaro says:

    This is absolutely beautiful!! Wow… I’m glad you stuck to your guns about the color. It’s clearly the right call. Teachers can guide up to a point but when your own intuitive sense kicks in and you just KNOW the right thing to do, then you get to fall into the flow and simply go with it. I’m so glad you did. My favorite way to portray subjects is backlit so this portrait, and all your work really, resonates with me completely. It’s truly lovely. Well done.

  2. Hey Gloria! Thanks so much for your comment on Head Study in Backlight.
    Sometimes catching the unexpected really ends up being amazing. It was great fun
    to paint!

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