Still life or portrait?

Still life with skull and rose, 12″x 16″ oil on panel

This is Ed … Ed the bone head.  No, I did not name him though I might have, many years ago.  He is a plastic version of the human skull and a very willing painting model to boot!  So much so, he never asked for a single break throughout the entire process.  Thanks, Ed.

I’ve been working on a number of portraits lately and decided I needed to revisit the structural framework of the human face.  It truly is an amazing piece of design and if you’ve never drawn or painted one from life I suggest you get yourself one.  I also wanted to make my study a bit more interesting so I dug around in my box of goodies and came up with this simple still life.

Turns out it wasn’t so simple after all.  I had a bear of a time building structure in the shadow areas, which is like eighty percent of my subject.  The colors and values were so close I had difficulty rendering them.  I had to resort to exaggerating what I saw and then try and knock them back so they looked more like what they were supposed to.  I feel like my approach wasn’t quite right and will definitely have to do some more experimentation.

It’s okay if you don’t get it right every time.   You have an idea and then you try it out; some things will work and others won’t.  It’s all part of getting better at what you do.  So, as the saying goes, “Back to the ol’ drawing board!

Thanks for reading!


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