Monday, February 27, 2012

An Excellent Portrait Painting Weekend


I stumbled into a few videos over the weekend by Ben Lentenhouwer, an astounding Dutch portrait painter, that made me take a second look at my painting. I was dissatisfied. My painting lacked depth, gusto, sparkle. I dissected the video over and over--pausing, going back, rereading, observing, then going back and doing it all again, till I had somewhat of a handle on Lustenhouwer's method.

His approach to portrait painting got me excited; I had to try it out. I selected a photograph I took of myself (interesting to me, not because it's laid back and shows me at my early morning worst, but because I liked the look of concentration on my face). Not finished yet, the self portrait shows I need more tutorials and practice, but there were techniques I thought facilitated the process--like rubbing the canvas down with linseed oil after the initial drawing in red colored pencil and acrylic under-painting using what looked like burnt sienna.

If you have any interest, Here's the videos I watched repeatedly over the weekend. And will be rerunning again and again. Go to Ben Lustenhouwser to see the the other four. Google him as well. His summer workshop in France looks like a dream trip.

I preferred this man's videos to the others listed on YouTube; Lustenhouwser's were close ups, thorough and very well made. Note the dowel set up for hanging the photograph abreast to the canvas-- and the mahl stick that looks like it swings over the canvas when he needs it.



18 comments:

  1. Oh, how wonderful. Love your portraits. You certainly captured the total look of concentration. Well Done.!! Now I will enjoy the video, thank you for sharing.

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  2. Well I will definitely watch these - thanks! Practice makes perfect, and you are definitely on your way - portrait painting is extraordinarily hard. I had four or so on one canvas as I tried and tried again (in acrylic). That one has been retired until later. I would love to learn to do this too.

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  3. Love the hair! (I needed to say that).

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  4. I love where you're going with your latest portrait!

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  5. Your portrait is excellent, done from quite a difficult angle, you caught that concentrated look very well. I already saw the videos and have been 'studying' them like you, but I still need a lot of practice to get even near there :-((

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  6. Hi Linda, your self-portrait is simply beautiful, I like it! Thanks a lot for sharing the videos. Ciao!

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  7. Fantastic job with this portrait, thanks for sharing!

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  8. It's coming along Joan. I would have liked to "knocked it off" in a day,but I'm a bit away from that kind of expertise. Do watch if you've got any interest. I guarantee they will give you a push.

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  9. Glad you like my morning hair Dan. that was a good morning: no cowlick--but then we sold the old moo.

    If you'e tried and failed, but would like to do portraits, you have to try and fail some more. the videos are long--but not as long as a college lecture. Watch them, they will make you reach for that multiple portrait you put aside.

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  10. I guess I choose difficult angles Jane. I know I like painting people doing what they do--not just staring at the portrait painter or photographer. In our natural habitat, we are ourselves and that will show in the painting. The viewer learns more about the person they're looking at. --Aren't those excellent videos? Doesn't Lustenhouwser's workshop look wonderful. I'd love to go.

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  11. I guess I choose difficult angles Jane. I know I like painting people doing what they do--not just staring at the portrait painter or photographer. In our natural habitat, we are ourselves and that will show in the painting. The viewer learns more about the person they're looking at. --Aren't those excellent videos? Doesn't Lustenhouwser's workshop look wonderful. I'd love to go.

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  12. Thanks Farm gal, I can't wait to get there. Lot's of nervous walking around with every stroke. some folks don't get it,that it's in the works. My friend from Mexico e-mailed me that no way do I have that schnoz. I had to tell her I hadn't foreshortened it yet. The under-shadow was one of the tones I should have laid in first.

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  13. My pleasure Kyla. Thanks for stopping by. I'll be coming by your place later. I've been a little preoccupied with this new genre and haven't been scrolling everyday as I usually like to do. It's probably because I don't feel I have a handle on this portraiture thing yet and I need one for the commissioned kids.

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  14. I'll bet you say that to all the girls Tito. Wonderful? No. Good start? Yes. But thanks for your encouragement. I appreciate it. I'll be by to see what you're up to at lunch time. For now: portrait painting 101.

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  15. Thanks for visiting my blog and commenting. I am glad that you found some inspiration from the work. One thing that is incredibly important for describing form is to relegate strokes or shapes into the light or the shadow. A single light source is very helpful for simplifying this. More diffused light, like in Misha's portrait makes this much more subtle, but the idea still holds. You've probably heard this before but 'nothing in the light should be darker than anything in the shadows'. There are exceptions, but adhering to that principle is key in describing three dimensional form in a way that reads immediately. Godspeed!

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  16. Stephen thank you so much for those pointers, (and for following). This self portrait is difficult lighting. The sitter is back-lighted (cool) and front-lighted (warm). I happen to like the play of the two--actually I tend to like back lighting; it's got a mood, but it's difficult...anyway, I printed out your comment and will take your pointers down to the studio for
    some practical exploration. Thank you for taking the time to come over.

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  17. Hi Linda.
    Can`t wait for the finished thing. Thanks for the intro` to the DVD`s.
    Hurry up with this portrait. All the best Linda.
    Vic.

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  18. I will bookmark that video---thanks! You set up a great challenge for yourself and you met it...great work! I'll be watching for more in the future!

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