Saturday, April 24, 2010

South Africa Faces the Future

Last year we were visiting my brother and his wife and they gave me some pictures from their travels in the last few years. One trip was to South Africa and their photos of the children were amazing. I got written permission to paint this recently. I've wanted to do some portraits in pastels and started with this one. I would love to have someone sit for me, but I'm slow and unsure of myself when it comes to portraits, so I think I'll rely on photos for awhile. I enjoyed doing this - but the background always gets to me - I changed it over and over - I didn't want it to detract from the faces. That's always been a problem for me when it comes to portraits. The light, it's always about the light.... Oh, this was painted on 18x24 watercolor paper. I started with painting the background in watercolor and built up the pastels over it. I liked the texture of the pastel on this paper and will probably try it again.


Dewberry Fine Art said...

Joann you really like a challenge. Wow to take on multiple portraits like this is pretty amazing and the knowledge gained is priceless. Backgrounds are always a challenge with portraiture as I want it to set off the colors in shadow and reflect in the skin at the plane changes to turn th form. Lots of challenges and you seem to be handling them very well.

Joann said...

Dori, It was a real learning experience, that's for sure. I still think my values are too similar, but it was difficult with all the kids having the same skin tones. I struggled over the background because, you're right, the skin has to reflect the light around the figure....I started this three times and tore it up twice before I finally felt confident. I want to try another multiple portrait pastel - just need to find the right photo!