Jeremy is a classically trained artist. Julie is a nutrition therapist.

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Cheyenne Mountain Zoo

We had a trip to the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo a couple weekends back. Finally got around to posting some pictures.

Bald Eagle

Bald Eagle

Gorilla

Gorilla

Meerkat

Meerkat

Moose

Moose

Rhinocerous

Rhinocerous

Theo feeding a giraffe

Theo feeding a giraffe

Weekend Update

Been under the weather a bit lately and antibiotics don’t seem to be helping (god help us all), but I was feeling well enough to get into the studio this weekend.

Here’s the portrait of Sarah. Making some good progress now, still a ways to go and I may have turned up the contrast a bit too much but I think most of the drawing issues have been resolved and now I can focus more on the details.

Sarah (in progress)

Sarah (in progress)

Also got a first pass real pass in on this portrait of Tayrou. It’s just a first pass, but I’m really happy with the solidity of the image. Trying to keep the edges soft though.

Tayrou (in progress)

Tayrou (in progress)

More to come…

Updates

I haven’t posted in a while, hoping to get more studio time in this week. Here’s a couple of quick images until the next update.

Worked some more on this portrait of Sarah yesterday. Looks like the eye repair was successful, not sure how much it’s apparent to everyone else but it look so much better to me now that the drawing errors have been minimized. I feel like I’ve got a really solid foundation to start with the final layers of paint now.

Sarah (in progress)

Sarah (in progress)

I worked on this a couple weekends ago but haven’t had a chance to post a picture of it yet. It’s a larger 18″x24″ image or Jordyn. I’m hoping to get some work in on this one and the painting of Tayrou as well while waiting for the paint to dry on the portrait of Sarah.

Jordyn (in progress)

Jordyn (in progress)

New Painting and a Reset

This is a bit of a one-step-forward, two-steps-back post:

I’ve got two new paintings that I started recently, one is a bit larger and that’s still in the wipeout phase. But this second one I started with the first chromatic underpainting layer or imprimatura.

Tayrou (imprimatura)

Tayrou (imprimatura)

I’ve also been hard at work on the portrait of Sarah. Things were moving along and I was getting lost in the details… too lost really. Sometimes you can’t really see an error in your work. I knew there was something a bit off about this portrait. I suspected it had to do with the eyes but as I spent so much time working on the right eye I had become blind to it (no pun intended). I assumed that the left eye was the one that needed to be corrected and I used some of the typical techniques to try to see what needed to be corrected with it (e.g. covering the area in the painting for a bit while looking at the source material then trying to get fresh eyes on the work).

Finally I turned the image upside-down and looked at it in a mirror. It became obvious immediately that the right eye was way out of place. It’s odd that you can’t see the error at all when working hours on it, but once you discover it – that’s all you can see.

So I decided not to take half-measures and to get back to a blank canvas.

Sarah (in progress)

Sarah (in progress)

That’s right, lead white over the offending area. I selected lead white for two main reasons. First it dries quickly so I can get back to it in a couple of days. Secondly it’s very opaque. A lot of people don’t realize this but oil paints are more or less translucent. What’s more is that they become more translucent over time. There are many paintings hanging in museums where you can see the ghost image of a correction showing through. Of course those weren’t visible when the artist first corrected them but over time the mistakes have been revealed by the natural aging process of the oil layers. Lead White should remain opaque enough that this won’t happen to this particular portrait. Would be terrible for her to end up with three eyes in the next century.

This is why you don’t worry about the details until you’ve nailed the larger forms. It’s a hierarchy, you have to get the proportions right first then the symmetry then you have the opportunity to get temperatures, colors and smaller details. If you don’t nail the proportions or symmetry though, won’t matter how beautiful the details are.

Update on Sarah

I haven’t posted an update in a little while. I’ve got two new painting in the wipeout stage that I need to take pictures of and I’ve had a couple of passes on this one now. Still working out some of the drawing issues but it’s starting to get there.

The yellow background is the real challenge for this painting. It’s so chromatic and beautiful that I’ve got to work against that foil and bring the subject up to that level of intensity. I think I’m up to that challenge. It’s just going to take some time at this point. Still al long way to go, particularly with the clothing and jewelry but it’s starting to take shape.

Sarah (in progress)

Sarah (in progress)

Todd

Portrait of Todd

Portrait of Todd

Portrait of Todd
12″x16″ oil on panel
© 2015 Jeremy C. Sparks