Than you so much mrscahplain, carolinekatie and jumping GeminióI really hope this method proves helpful to you. I actually put it together for Marie herself since she doesnít like the idea of copying and tracing, and doesnít seem to have the patience for a painted value study. I have used all of those approaches, in order to speed up my learning curve. But by far the most beneficial has been to paint and draw from life. Hopefully practicing this technique will motivate readers to try their hand at painting from a live model, which is such a rare treat for me.
I do have a few questions... I have been searching the internet to find out more about the rectangle armature, but haven't had much luck. I created the armature layer over a photo I am using for a portrait....there are so many lines, that I'm not certain how to make sense of it...., so here is my question...is there a book that you can recommend? I am interested in learning more about how to decipher what I am seeing when using the rectangle armature. And, are there other books/sources that you can recommend regarding the facial mapping technique? I also created a layer with the mapping technique you described. I am VERY excited to try this out. I work in pastels, so I will have to figure out how to transfer some of these lines to my paper,
So here is a list of helpful resources. I do not personally know these artists nor am I paid to advertise for them. Iíve just found the books enormously helpful and/or interesting.
The armature, there are a couple books Iíve read on the subject:
ē The Science of Art: Optical Themes in Western Art from Brunelleschi to Seurat by Martin Kemp
This one is for the serious scholaróit will take me years to understand it all, but itís fascinating and well written. The author has other books that look to be a yummy read.
ē Classical Painting Atelier: A Contemporary Guide to Traditional Studio Practice by Juliette Aristides
This one is easier to understand and more instructively oriented. The composition segment is only a small portion of what the book covers, and is fairly straight forward. IMO a must have for any serious student.
Specifically for portrait painting, the following are my portrait ďbiblesĒ:
ē Painting Beautiful Skin Tones With Color & Light in Oil, Pastel and Watercolor by Chris Saper
Iíve read it over and over, each time taking in more and more. Saperís clear instruction is priceless, and her understanding of color and light an inspiration. I canít sing its praises enough or thank the author enough for sharing her experience and knowledge. Saperís website is also a feast for the eyes, so be sure to pay her site a visit! Her articles, Portraiture and the Pursuit of Excellence are very informative to artists pursuing portraiture as well as eye opening to those commissioning portraits.
ē Portraits from Life in 29 Steps by John Howard Sanden
Very clear and well written by a modern master. I am resistant to his premixed paints, but the information on them is very helpful. Not everyone can have that kind of studio setup (myself included), but the information is valuable and applicable.
ē Karin Wells Studio
An excellent blog focusing mostly on old master techniques. Karin is not a color lover like I am, not does she paint thickly like I do. But her experience and knowledge are far more advanced than my own, and I canít even tell you how much Iíve learned from her! Iíve read all her posts. Take some time to browse the blog, and itís all free! Karinís a class act.
ē Painting the Impressionist Landscape: Lessons in Interpreting Light and Color by Lois Griffel
Iím embarrassed to say that when I first read this book, I understood very little of it. I simply couldnít see the warm/cold and different color variations that Griffel spoke of. But after experimenting with colors and trying to observe from life a little more closely, Griffelís words started making more sense, and suddenly I started seeing color everywhere! It was also from this book that I got the idea of painting with a palette knife. Highly recommended for all experience levels, and a tremendous influence on my personal vision. The color/value chart was very helpful in enabling me to see colors AS values.
This is such a vast resource, that I have still not read all the way through, but use more as a reference for palette color selection. It is written for watercolors, but the pigment information applies across the board. Worth exploring, especially if you love color! Iím getting to the point that Iím memorizing the pigment numbers and the pigment qualities!
To start off read the palette section
, then tonal value
, and the artist color wheel
from the color theory section. Trust me, these three areas will keep you reading for days! This site can be quite overwhelming, with all the information. My best advice is start with the sections Iíve recommended, read all the way through, THEN start clicking on the links, again reading all the way through, and returning to you initial page before continuing deeper into the site. This is hard advice to follow as there are links to click on all over the place, but if you do, the information starts making a little more sense.
Now to answer the question about the armature. Sheesh, count on me to give such a long answer to such a short question! The diagonals are there to show you the quarters, half, thirds and fourths both horizontally and vertically (I was just too lazy to label them all). You have to choose which ones to use as guides. You can even create new ones from the division marks. Hereís what I used for Marie, loosely. Think of this as tangent lines for areas of the painting you want to focus on or to create movement. This is really not my area of expertise, as composition tends to come more intuitively to me. Just move your subject around until you find a nice fit.
Next to transfers your landmark guidelines you can make your own transfer paper out of tracing paper. I brushed a fine acrylic pumice medium to the tracing/acetate paper to give it some tooth. Then when it dry, rubbed a soft pastel into it. Use whatever color will work best. You can use this transfer paper over and over again. Just be sure to press very gently as to not dent your pastel surface. Then spray some workable fixative on it. I suppose you could also do it with graphite transfer paper.
Hope this helps! If anyone else has ideas or input please feel free to jump in!