Saturday, April 25, 2009

Obama as Our New President

This is my second stab at an Obama portrait (see 6/14/08). This one was to honor our new President. So I chose an image of him in a moment that epitomized, to me, his character. Once I got started, I realized the child could be a challenge (well, not that Obama wasn't), with his big bald head. Even once I painted it, the round object seemed to project forward, as you see in this First Stage. But I've learned to tell myself, "Just keep painting and see how it all rounds out once it nears completion." So I continued.

After laying down Aureolin Yellow, it warms up and brings to life human body parts, over all but my highlight areas of Obama's face, I begin to layer in other warm colors. I know some of the pinks and intense Quinacridone Burnt Orange look VERY garish, but I need to remember, when I layer over with darker, shadow colors, that brightness will vanish and merely whisper thru as glowing color. That's the beauty of transparent watercolors (bless you Quinacridones! Did you know they originated from car paints?). I continue to layer in darker shadows mixed from my Thalo Blue and Brown Madder, in some receding areas the mix was Carmine and Thalo Blue.

It took me alot of time dealing with the detail areas, his eyes, mouth, and neck. Layer after delicate layer, working to keep him 'glowing' yet needing to get darker. His hair has various values and differing colors too - sparse some places, dense others. His expression of joyful surprise was part of what captivated me and finally, I felt like I captured it! Background was more to bring him out and I chose optimistic colors that don't necessarily recede. I'm still pondering the baby's head size. Some days it looks proportional, others, I want to paint it darker. Then I realized this isn't going on the White House wall and I could just let it be. Love to hear any of your opinions, feedback and/or suggestions.

In the end, the painting made me smile and it reflected how I felt on Inauguration Day - joyful, optimistic and hopeful. And that was enough. The moral - don't be afraid to attempt difficult images, we can only learn by painting them. Happy creating!

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