Friday, January 11, 2013

100 Faces Finished!

On December 29, 2012, I finished #100 of my 100 Faces Project. This was major for me, because it was the first time I followed through on a new year’s goal all the way to the end of the year.  I can thank you in part, because you were following my progress and holding me accountable!

My goal was to paint faster and more freely, to capture the important elements without fussing over details. When I only had 20 or 30 minutes, I did a face in that amount of time. Many of them were wiped off or painted over. I felt free to do that, because it wasn’t about having beautiful portraits to post. It was about consistent, focused practice.

When I did have more time, I worked to complete the portrait as accurately as I could. A few favorites were finished even more completely in additional painting sessions. This way, I learned from doing the special finishing touches, as well as from the fast studies. I’m amazed at how much I learned from the entire experience.

Now, as I contemplate my goal for the new year, I’d like to hear about yours! Feel free to comment here or email me directly. Thank you for your interest and encouragement throughout the year.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Home Stretch

Almost there!  This is #91 of my 100 Faces Project. 

Monday, July 23, 2012

Portrait of Carolyn

I painted this portrait for my niece's graduation.  She is busy, active, and outgoing, so I enjoyed capturing her during a quiet, contemplative moment.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Back to the Easel

Time to get back to my faces after a few weeks outside painting plein air. Who can resist in the summer?  I'm sure I'll be lured outside again!

This girl's face is mostly in shadow with just a bit of light on her face.  I liked her dark features and warm skin tones.  I experimented with toning the canvas in green, a nice complement to her skin tones and red veil.  However as a background, it does need to be toned down a bit and finished sometime.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Portrait of Ron


This was a great reference with strong light on the right, creating wonderful shadows.  This small oil painting study was finished in 2 painting sessions. Completed on 4/14/12.

Monday, May 14, 2012

"Bright Eyes" portrait painting

I painted this adorable little girl from a reference photo submitted by Stacey O'Donnell.  She was so much fun to paint, I just couldn't stop at a quick study and went back to give her a more refined finish.

Her skin tones were subtle and difficult because the light was straight on the front of her face, eliminating shadows.  To compensate, so that she would not look washed out, I accentuated the beautiful color in her cheeks.

8 x 10 portrait in oils completed 5-14-12.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

A Character Study

This one was really fun.

 I was drawn to his expression and character and captured him in about 5 hours. Portrait in oils completed on 3/18/12.

(Click on the photo to enlarge and see the wisdom in his eyes)

Monday, April 23, 2012

Art Class Portrait Demonstration


This study in oils began as a demonstration for an art class in portrait painting.
It was completed later in the studio on 3/6/12.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Oil Portrait - Unhappy Man

This face gave me an opportunity to try a different expression.  The reference photo was found in a magazine, photographer unknown.

Paintings I create from published photos are for practice only and not for sale or entry in art competitions.  When I know the name of the photographer, I am happy to cite it here. Painted 2/28/12 in about 5 hours.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

A Pensive Gaze

This child was fascinating and fun to paint.  The skin tones in dark skin are beautiful and subtle.  I enjoyed capturing the cool colors in the reflected light on the left (our left) side of her face and warmer highlights on the right. Her attitude and expression were fun to paint as well.

Oil painting completed 2/14/12 in about 3 hours.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Beautiful Woman


The soft diffused light on this woman's face and her interesting smile made a fun study.
Completed in 3 hours on 1/17/12.

A Favorite


This man was a lot of fun.  One of those rare occasions when it seemed to paint itself! 
Completed in about 3 hours on 1/3/12.

My First Attempt

This is my first try, completed in about 90 minutes. 1/2/12

Monday, August 9, 2010

Movie Project


I recently finished a large commission for a movie, "Homeless For the Holidays" to be released this fall. Independent film producer, George A. Johnson, asked me to create a dozen paintings, including 7 portraits of some of the actors in the film. The art will be used for the opening title sequence.
This is the character "Adam" in the film. I had a lot of fun with this project. The challenge was to paint the personalities of the characters in the story, not merely the likeness of the actors.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

"Staying Clean (Mostly)"

"Staying Clean (Mostly)" by Valorie Snyder, oils, 14 x 11

This little girl was a study of contrasts. While she enjoyed being a princess for a little while, she is an active outdoor kid, unaccustomed to worrying about her clothes. She reminded me of the way we attempt to present ourselves to the world as “having it all together,” while inside we often feel rumpled and crumpled and very much not together. But she wasn’t concerned about that—she was having too much fun!

In creating this painting, I decided to play up the contrasts. I contrasted her fancy dress by placing her in her preferred outdoor environment. The lighting, high and from behind, created natural contrasts which set the mood for this fleeting moment.

Because the view was frontal, I wanted to avoid a too-static composition. To create some movement, I used highlights to emphasize the diagonals in the angle of her shoulders and the lines of her dress. I also angled and varied the tree line in the background and angled the log slightly. I painted her dress loosely, to create movement and to create the feeling that she won’t be sitting still very long! (And she didn't).

100 Faces - Introduction

After painting many portraits, I've found I can achieve the likeness, attitude and personality of my subjects, given enough time. Now I want to be able to create them faster!
My art goal for 2012 is to paint one hundred faces - small, quick practice studies, either from photos or from life, in whatever amount of time I have. If I only have an hour on a particular day, the idea is to complete the portrait in an hour. No time for fussing over details. I want to use larger brushes and more paint. Rough studies can have their own charm. Since it's just practice, I may throw them away, paint over them, or go back later to finish them further.

Click on the pictures below to enlarge and see the brushwork.