I’ve been setting aside most of the lessons from “Let’s Face It” as I focused on Gillian’s daily classes in “Drawn to Expression”
However, in week 9 of “Let’s Face It,” Juna Biagioni’s mini-lesson piqued my interest. In this lesson, Juna used a more expressive approach for creating her portrait. It seemed like a perfect follow-up to everything I’ve been learning in “Drawn to Expression.”
The result was “Lady Blue.” Materials used include watercolor paper prepared with a thin coat of gesso, Conte pencils, acrylic paint, and Caran d’Arche crayons.
Background: Created with two shades of blue acrylic paint, plus white acrylic paint. Applied with a paintbrush and old credit card.
First Layer: The face was very lightly sketched onto the background. The first layer for the face was created with the same shades of blue acrylic paint as the background and applied loosely to the canvas.
Sketching More Layers: The face was again sketched onto the first layer of paint. First with white Conte pastel pencil and then with a darker pencil. The intent is that each layer adds to the depth of the final portrait.
Lighter Tone Layers: Sketching is followed by adding paint in lighter tones. And more sketching.
At this point, we’ve officially entered the ugly stage.
Back to the blue paints and Conte. Now it feels like this portrait is starting to come together.
In Juna’s lesson, she eventually used oil paint sticks and oil pastels to smooth out the skin tone. I tried the oil pastels that I have but wasn’t thrilled with the result. I opted to use Caran d’Arche crayons.
I really like the expressive tone in this finished piece. I debated with myself whether or not to fill in her hair. I tried to visualize how the piece would look if the hair was a solid color. My preference was for her face to be the focal point. Leaving her hair partially complete adds to the expressive nature of the piece, in my opinion.
I could’ve cleaned up the dark lines along the left side of her face and neck as they may look a bit too much like an outline. This self-editing thing can be a bit of a back and forth battle.
Finally, I really tried to emphasize the light and dark sides of her face. I think I achieved that. This is the first piece I’ve ever created using non-flesh tone colors to indicate highlights and shadows. In the past, doing that scared me. It seemed unnatural. Perhaps it depends on the particular piece. After this exercise, I feel more comfortable using that technique.