Great Grandma 2

Having developed the spreadsheet for measuring a subject’s facial dimensions, I decided to take another stab at painting my great grandmother.  Last time, I used watercolor paper, which, while inexpensive, tends to bend and buckle when it gets wet.  I found that I would occasionally have to stop and let the painting dry for a while before continuing.  I purchased a pad of 9”x12” canvas sheets at Michael’s, 10 sheets for about $5.  I must say, I never really paid very close attention to art supplies previously, but the latest innovations which allow a learning artist to get started for a minimal sum.


So I applied my measurements spreadsheet to determine exactly where the features should go, drew the undersketch in pencil, painted in acrylic, and got the following result:


Great Grandma 2 EA009


What I like:

The features definitely came in at the right places and sizes. The eyes are not too big this time, and the hair came out a little better.  The skin tones were nice, with warmer colors in the shadows closer to the dividing line between shadow and light.  However, for whatever reason, I think that the face came out a bit too long when compared to the photograph.

What I don’t like:

It’s still not “there.”  You don’t look at it and think, “Aha, I know who that is.”  I think part of it was that I lost interest in doing the same painting twice in a row, and I may have been in too much of a hurry to finish.  While the colors in the shading came out well, the problem with the shading is that it doesn’t give sufficient texture to the various nodes and bumps in the face.  There is no well-defined cheek or chin.  As you can see on this painting, I tried to make up for the lack of chin by going over the top of where the chin should be with a light wash of white, but the correction was insufficient.  It’s also harder to do corrections in acrylic because, by the time I realized that I had made a mistake, the paint had dried.

The other difficulty I ran into was using pencil as my undersketch.  You can still see a bit of the pencil near the nostrils and eye coming through.  On the bridge of the nose, which was bisected by the eyeline I drew on the undersketch, I had to slop on layer after layer of paint to hide the graphite pencil line.  It was frustrating to finally feel I had the coloring and tones right, only to realize that the eyeline was showing through and I would have to slop on more and more layers of paint just to mask it, let them dry, and start over.  Lessons for next time, I suppose.

Leave a Reply