Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Exploring Lustenhouwer's Approach To Portraiture

First contour drawing in fifty years. 

Having taken no portrait painting classes with oils or any other medium--with the exception of a four day workshop last year, I downloaded Lustenhouwer's Portrait of A Boy  video over the weekend. It's a two and a half hour tutorial. I watched thirty minutes and put it on pause.  How he began his portraits by first photographing his subject, then projecting the image onto the canvas to draw it in using a red pencil immediately interested me who had always begun free hand using thin paint.  I wanted to try it.  I also wanted to mix the skin and hair tones the way he did--instead of feeling them out helter-skelter.  I began today by taking a photo of myself, (my most accommodating live model), with my IPad. I didn't edit the photo; I left it as it was.
Then I did something I haven't done in a long time. I drew on
the 12 x 16" canvas using the contour style, since I do not own a projector or plan on buying one. Instead of using  a red wax pencil, (graphite doesn't cover well at all said Lustenhouwer and I agree), I used a sienna pastel pencil so I had the luxury of erasing being new to contour after all these years.  From here, I go on to solidifying the drawing with acrylics, burnt sienna of course, and laying in  the darks and some mid tones. Then comes mixing the skin and hair tones, three neutral grays and a wishy-washy (my words), neutral color. Lustenhouwer mixed a  mauve, about #4 on the gray scale.  I agree that mauve is a handy no color color for transitions. 

Lustenhouwer's method for arriving at the proper skin tones also intrigued me.  He had a white sheet of card stock with a nice size square cut in the middle which he used to lay over the enlarged photograph to isolate the shade he wanted to match.  He would mix and check out his progress on white strips cut from the same card stock.  I prepared those tools today.  Tomorrow, I'll be taking the time to mix all the tones at once, instead of intuiting them. Lustenhouwer estimated that getting the tones right takes an hour or more.   


Color tone sceening tool with strips of card stock for testing accuracy.
 
 
 






22 comments:

  1. Hi Linda,
    My, but what a lovely profile you have. I'm looking forward to seeing how this first attempt turns out.
    I wonder if you'll modify anything else besides no projector? What he offers sounds like a good way to spend less time wandering about in the woods and more time being productive at the easel. Labor and materials saving, efficient working methods always sound so good to me, but then personality kicks-in and discipline breaks down and the old trial-and-error method, once again, reigns supreme.
    You'll certainly never see "my way" in any "how to" book--that's for sure! :) Oh, well.
    With your fiery, independent personality, it'll be interesting to see if you adopt this method, or any other, for that matter. I see you studying, listening and reading almost everything, then taking your own path.
    Thanks, Linda, for the sentiment about the death of the Maestro. I was exceptionally lucky to have met him and I do hope he will live on, at least, a little, through me.
    Have a nice evening.
    Sincerely,
    Gary.

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    1. You are kind friend. My thing about self portraits is I like candid shots of how I really am when I'm myself and not all prettied up for the rest of the world. Others won't let me do that. i am willing, for The painting will have more character. I too am undisciplined when it comes to mixing paint and I think it costs me some aggravation. It would be nice if Lustenhouwer could help me change my sloppy ways especially in the realm of portraiture. Before, I can develop my own style/approach, I should take a look at how others go about it. This is a year of study for me. No little drawings, just looking at people and weighing how to portray them. I'm having an interesting time. Again, I'm sorry about your friend and mentor. I'm also jealous that you had someone like that in your life. Lucky you.

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  2. Linda!
    I love your contour drawing. I had a great art teacher who taught me so much about portraiture using that same technique.
    Keep on making art and writing all about it! I love your blog buddy!
    Take care. Happy New Year!
    Your art buddy!
    Michael

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    1. It reall has been a while since contour was a nemisis. considering I was using a pastel pencil, instead of an unerasable colored pencil did allow me to make corrections. I did not, of course, draw contour as if I was a fly walking all over the paper as I was told to do many years ago. I still related strategic points to one another and did get a pretty good rendition. I will have to fudge the background and the lower part of her jacket to fill the space. I may have cropped too much off from the original photo shot--I did over crop. But it's not like I don't have an imagination. Thanks buddy. I do love that football painting of yours particularly how the dust is flying around the players. Great thinking.

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  3. Bonjour,
    Je suis très contente de vous retrouver... Cette dernière publication est très intéressantte et j'ai hâte d'en voir davantage, moi qui suis une autodidacte !
    Gros bisous

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    1. We are all self taught to some extent or another. It isn't till you have total hands on and no one whispering in your ear that you really learn what your art is all about. Lustenhouwer's video was offered on You Tube, I watched the trailer and decided to invest the $24 on the whole two and a half hour version. Portraiture demand precision. He pointed that out. I am lax on precision, sooooooooooooooo...

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  4. Dear Linda, your research on the technique is a way of acting that I like! I like to paint but I really like to study the process, even from other painters. I am waiting for further developments... this morning I sent you a video where a watercolorist paints portraits with a base of neutral values (others video on you tube if you like) ​​... I hope you like it.The music is,any case, very great!
    Your precise hand and the way you photograph yourself so extraordinary, give a superb portrait!

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    1. I can't wait to see it. Your work has been getting better and better with all the experimenting you've been doing. I will be working in watercolors very soon. I just brought them upstairs so I can use them while recuperating over the next five weeks. I need a lot of experimentation with watercolors. I've always thought I'm too heavy handed for the medium. Thank you Rita. --I stopped by to visit yesterday, but this iPad was uncooperative. It wouldn't translate your post. So I will catch up when I'm back on computer. The days are filled this week as I get ready to go under the knife next Tuesday. What have I gotten myself into just because I want to go on dancing?

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  5. Interesting techniques, and interesting to know how you like them! I love the pose!

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    1. I think the color matching system is a particularly good idea PROVIDING one has a terrific reference photo. This one is not, but it's good enough for experimenting with this new approach?

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  6. Looking forward to see the progress.
    I am glad you bring up something that I have thought of, but never done yet. I have seen artist do it, I see a lot of artist that I think do it, but still it is a sensitive topic. I know that the old masters used the help that was available at that time and that included tracing things over to a canvas. I work so loose that sometimes the initial drawing doesn't work for me. At those times I do think that tracing the subject would give a good start. Faces is a subject that I could consider tracing some guidelines. I just have to give it a try and see if it works for me.

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    1. Lustenhouwer uses a projector for efficiency. He's a professional portrait painter who must deliver an excellent likeness of his subject. A projector insures that. I understand. It also speeds up the process by eliminating the construction of a grid and the tedious drawing in step that follows. The man is in business. The projector is a useful tool for accuracy and production. I should think, the photo realists use them too.

      As art students, no teacher would say get yourself a projector, for developing free hand drawing skill the hard way is fundamental. Lustenhouwer has drawing skills. His sure handedness is evident in his paint application. If my portraiture business was booming, I would definitely consider adding a projector to my box of tools. I would be surprised if that happened in this lifetime.

      I really admired his efficiency in mixing the paints. I lack that deliberate concentration and thoughtfulness and consequently waste a lot of time trying this and that before finding right-on. My method is unprofessional, wasteful and probably responsible for "bad art days" and how those make me feel.

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  7. Replies
    1. It's interesting to see how other artists work. Portraiture is really quite disciplined for how I've used art throughout my life--expressionistically,as a release. I was curious how to do it right--as if I was in business. I sort of stumbled into the genre after I started to blog. Turns out, it is the genre that suits my appreciation of details and the human form. Live and learn. Flowers and landscapes are more fun. No one really cares if the tree actually looked like the tree you painted--just that it's believeable; you can fudge those paintings as much as you want. Not a portrait, if likeness is important. I like being able to capture a likeness. There's a formal portraiture class offered session two of the winter months at the art association. I might just indulge my curiosity even though I really like gestural painting. I think one has to be able to paint formally before they can paint gesturally with facility. I like what you're up to too.

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  8. I love how you get the bit between your teeth and go for the jump. This is very interesting and I await developments with bated breath! I have used a projector and see the benefit of no wasted time, which is good if you are snowed under with commissions, but I find the resulting drawing inhibits the painting even though finding a likeness is no problem.
    I adore your photograph....please may I paint it too? I honestly shall take no offence if you prefer I didn't.

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    1. I was all set to skyp you when I learned I hadn't requested your permission to add you to my contact list. Of course you can use the photo. When I looked at it, you came to mind. The way the harsh light washed out succinct lines and left only shapes reminded me of your work, which I admire greatly.

      Yes, a projector is only a necessity if you are a much sought after portrait artist. I am not, nor will I ever be, nor do I wish to be. I don't want a J-O-B. :-))

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    2. Thank you, hope I can do you justice....now to bed so tomorrow comes quick! PS, you got a damn good start with your drawing!

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    3. This is one client that won't bitch. Knock yourself out.

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  9. Dit ziet er al goed uit ben benieuwd hugs Danielle

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    1. Thanks Danielle--but leaving it the way it is would be just too easy. Life isn't that way. We always have to make it hard on ourselves. :-))

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  10. I LOVE this pose, Linda!! I can't wait to see you start on this one...You do beautiful self-portraits...something I would love to do someday!! I love the darks and lights in the original picture .. wonderful shadows for a portrait....

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  11. It will be great to have that surgery behind you! I know you're going to do great. Your drawing is lovely....very accurate!

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