Wednesday, June 9, 2010

I have been working on designs for the July session at Irving. It is always exciting to plan and create new projects for my students.

First up is a new Santa plate for 2010. My students and I have worked on a new Santa plate every year. We have about thirteen different Santa designs now. In the early years, I used different sizes and shapes of plates. After 2001 or so, we have stayed with an eight inch coupe plate. The uniform plates make them easier to display. This year's plate is a nocturne, a night view. Santa will have a black background and strong shadows across his face with some golden highlights to reflect firelight.

Santa is a good image to work with when beginning portraiture. Our eye is so accurate when we are looking at the faces of the people we love. A portrait of relatives is very hard. We can see the slightest inaccuracy. Be just a sixteenth of an inch off and the likeness is ruined. Often it is not the placement of the features that ruinds a portrait, but the tonality. What makes a cheek curve softly into the ear is gradual change of color. It takes good brush control and a good eye for tones to create that change of color. So Santa is perfect, since no one knows exactly what he looks like. Also, wrinkles are easier than a smooth cheek.

I am also working on a twelve inch plate with an image of a young woman. She has the look of a Russian princess with heaps of curly blonde hair, and I am working on a long narrow tray as well with a female figure holding a rose. With a bit of luck, all three projects will be ready for the session starting on July 7. Also, we have a Portrait Workshop on Saturday, July 17.

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