Blocking Matt In


Or should it be Blocking In Matt? I’m not sure which is correct so we’ll just move on to my paint recipes for his skin tones! #1. Cerulean Blue + White. #2. Two shades of MUD (Ultramarine Blue + Alizarin Crimson) + more Ultramarine Blue + Cadmium Orange + White. #3. MUD + a touch of Alizarin Crimson + Cadmium Red Light + Cadmium Orange + White. #4. A couple of mixes in different proportions of MUD + Cadmium Orange + a tiny bit of Ultramarine Blue + White.


We’ll begin by painting Matt’s neck, making his Adam’s apple less prominent. Next the shadows on Matt’s face cast by the cap are established. The light is coming from the upper left so his forehead, upper nose and the side of his face on the right will be in the shade of the cap’s brim.


There will be a tiny bit of light on the cheek where the sun passes over his nose and illuminates the cheek bone. The lighter areas of Matt’s face are almost blocked in. The face is divided into three zones. The Forehead is lighter and a bit more yellow. You won’t see that here because of the cap. The band across the ears, cheeks and nose are redder. The skin in these areas is very thin, the blood vessels are close to the surface which makes it more red. The lower face is bluer because of facial hair, especially in men. Matt is very fair, so he doesn’t have much of a Five O’Clock shadow. But his face is still a bit more blue in this area.


Now for Matt’s hazel eyes. I’ve made 3 shades of a mix of Sap Green + a tiny bit of Cadmium Orange + White. The eye on the left is finished, I’ll explain the steps as I paint the one on the right. The pupil is painted with MUD + Liquin, the I cover the entire iris area with the darkest shade of my green mixture. You may click on the image to see it larger.


When the light coming in from the upper left strikes the rounded cornea it makes a pinpoint highlight at 11 o’clock. Then the light is transmitted through the cornea and illuminates the iris on the opposite side. So I make a crescent with the middle value green on the lower right portion of the iris. Then the very center of that crescent is highlighted with the lightest green.


The last step of Jack’s technique of painting eyes is to add the pinpoint highlight on the cornea with pure White. Notice it is placed at the edge of the pupil mostly in the iris. You don’t want the catch light actually in the pupil, your subject will look like they are on drugs. And don’t trust your photo reference on the catch light. Most photos are taken with several light sources, showing multiple highlights in the eyes. Look at Rembrandt and John Singer Sargent’s portraits, that’s where Jack learned how to paint eyes. And, I’m really glad I didn’t go with the Sage Green background, it would have been so similar to Matt’s eyes they would have gotten lost. With this background Matt’s eyes sparkle and stand out.


Now we’ll block in the lower portion of Matt’s face.


We’re done for today. I still have work to do on Matt’s face, it is just roughed in at this point. I’ll come back in the next session and finish him out. Thank you for following along today. Again, I want to thank all of you for the love and support you’ve extended to me. I’ve enjoyed hearing your memories of “Our Jack”, they bring smiles to my heart. You don’t know how much I appreciate each and every one of you. BIG HUGS,


3 Responses to “Blocking Matt In”

  1. Angelica Says:

    Very, very nice! I love your layering of colors. The “eyes” are amazing. This is really a wonderful portrait that captures man and his best friend Splash (next to his wife of course)! They are going to love this. Thank you for sharing Mikki. I know that you put a great deal of work into sharing these lessons with us…thank you for your gift to all of us.


  2. Shirley Says:

    I like the way you have created a 3-D effect with Splash’s nose right on the front surface of the canvas and Matt several inches back in the space–great perspective!

    • Mikki Senkarik Says:

      Thank you Shirley, Here is how that is accomplished. The white on Splash’s chin, his dark coat and the warmth of his eyes pull him forward. Matt’s eyes are cooler and his coloring fair, the contrasts are not as strong as they are on Splash. So he drops in back of his special pup! I appreciate your kind words and you following my blog. Hugs, Mikki

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: