Finishing Emma

SB0713 Emma Step 9

I begin blocking in Emma’s face. Portraits always look so strange at this point.

SB0713 Emma Step 10

After getting the face, eyes and teeth completely covered it’s time to start on the details. The irises of Emma’s dark eyes are started. I brace my wrist on a mahl stick to steady my hand while painting the small details of her eyes. What is a mahl stick? CLICK HERE to find out.

SB0713 Emma Step 11

It’s amazing how alive Emma’s eyes become when the catch light and highlight on the iris are added. This is a technique Jack taught me and I love the results. Eyes painted without these lights appear so lifeless.

Emma Portrait ImageSB0713 Emma Step 12

Comparing the photograph and portrait side by side I realize Emma’s eyes need to be closed a little more and her smile is not broad enough.

SB0713 Emma step 13

I’ve made those adjustments and we’re getting very close. The sunlight and shadow on Emma was a lot more intense than the others. Since she is part of a grouping of portraits I’ve softened the lighting just a bit to work better with Helen, Ben and Stuart.

Emma Portrait Image flippedSB0713 Emma step 13 flippedComputers are so wonderful. For the final check I put both the reference photo and the portrait in Photoshop and flip them. This moves the images in my brain from the inventive, or creative side, to the analytical side. The technique allows me to look at them fresh for the last critique. I still have a little work to do on Emma’s mouth and her face needs to be a touch wider on the left side.

SB0713 Emma 17x14

And……. we’re almost completely done with Emma. When her hair is dry I have to go back and glaze a few darks into the shadows. Then she will be finished. Flipping the images on the computer is much like looking at your painting in a mirror. The advantage of reversing the reference photo and portrait on the computer is you can place them side by side and make them the same size. It’s amazing how easy it is to see mistakes. I’ll follow the same method on the other three portraits. Come back tomorrow, I’ll show the final versions of all four portraits. Thanks for following along and I truly appreciate all of your supportive comments. Hugs, Mikki Senkarik

2 Responses to “Finishing Emma”

  1. Carole Jarvis Says:

    Mikki, I enjoy your art – and your cats – very much, but have no artistic ability (other than piano!). All I’ve learned about painting has come from your blog. I didn’t realize you were as talented with portraits as you are with landscapes. Thanks for sharing on your blog.

  2. Patrice Kelly Says:

    Wow , just Beautiful .

    Sent from my iPad

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