30 Portraits in 30 Days Challenge: Day 2


So, today, still wanting to keep with making copies of paintings with high contrast, I made a Carvaggio copy this time. This is Judith’s face from Carvaggio’s “Judith Beheading Holofernes.”

While I personally, like this better than my Girl With a Girl Earring copy, from yesterday, it’s not perfect, obviously, you look at this and see the original face, and it doesn’t really the same girl.

Here’s some observations I’ve made:

Both women’s skin look REALLY pale. Their skins look cold. Dead even. It’s freaking creepy, man. 

During this, and yesterday’s painting, I realized that I have two cold yellow tubes instead of one cold and one warm. I don’t have a warm yellow tube. Why is this important?

And what the heck is a cold vs warm yellow?

Well, in paints, there’s no such thing a pure yellow, I’m 99% sure anyway. I’ve found that yellow paints are usually on a spectrum of yellow.

Some yellows are closer to orange on the color wheel, and other yellows are closer to green. It’s really difficult if at all possible to find a tube of paint that is pure yellow. So, if you are trying to, say, make an orange, and you mix yellow and red like you would, but your yellow is more leaning towards the green spectrum than the orange, then you’re going to get a really cold, unfeeling orange.

Solution: Easy. Go to the art store and get a yellow from Gamblin’s lovely list here from their “Warm” criteria. I kinda miss Gamblin here in Italy. Their paints are amazing. That’s a pretty nice, warm yellow.

I hope this helps make a better visualization

The Faces Do Look Like Human Faces, but They Don’t Look Like the Women They’re Based On

This was a problem I ran into early on when I did my Drawing 30 Portraits in 30 Days was I would, say draw a picture of my sister, but I would draw a girl that looked her age, but it wasn’t really her, just things that are kind of off that are missing the unique features of an individual person’s face.

Now, one can argue this is fine, they look like faces, so who cares if it’s my own style rather than the Master I’m copying? Well, what if I want to paint a portrait of one of my sisters? And I end up making a painting that doesn’t really look like them? What if I have a client that wants me to make a fake of an old master painting or one of their loved ones? Making a face look like someone’s face is a skill I would like to have.

Solution: I think to remedy this, I’m going to draw an outline of the face for the time being. Maybe do a few sketches of the face beforehand.

So, just be clear, I’m not saying my paintings suck (though, I’m sure they might to some of you, and that’s okay. Can’t please everyone), but with my philosophy that art is a skill as much as a form of culture or expression, it can always be improved on. I feel like I’ve already learned a lot from these two paintings and I can’t wait to see what tomorrow’s will look like.


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