Sean Cheetham Day Two – Portrait Painting Tips from K.L. Britton

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The finished painting!

 

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Here is step one.  Day two was almost completely painting, with Sean walking around to help individual students with their issues, instead of simply demonstrating.  This is great for most people, because it gets from general, to what am I doing right?  I know I wrote this about yesterday, but it was VERY tough for me to work from dark to light and paint as I put down, I usually block in my lights and darks and then work into them, so it was a struggle!

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Here is with the shadow side of the cheek, not even completed.  I probably could have ended up spending 10 hours on this, frankly, because it was such a challenge.

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One of the main takeaways I got from the workshop was to create huge piles of your lights, darks, and for each area.  I did a huge background tone, and worked all my paint into it.  I did a huge pile of shadow face, and I worked into it.  Awesomely, I could have worked even further into it after I was done, simply because I’d mixed so much.  Same goes with lights, and this was invaluable for me to learn.  I usually paint very thin and end up spending a lot of time re-mixing a colour instead of painting.

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The finished product with some thumb shadow 😀  I am pleased.  It’s quite small, only 9×12, but it took the whole time to finish AND with a migraine the second day.

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Here is my set up as I tried to see what issues I had.  There is Natalia Fabia’s setup next to mine.

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Me and Natalia’s work in progress

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My awesome new friend Marian made this gorgeous painting on the right in such a short amount of time!  It was a very large canvas and so exciting to see her progress as we went along.

I’m glad to answer any questions you might have about the workshop, feel free to leave a comment! Thanks for reading!

Sold Out – Flower Pepper Gallery Pasadena – Los Angeles Artist K.L. Britton

Hey guys!

I’ve been continuing on the portrait lately, as well as some colour studies, so instead of posting updates on it, I wanted to let you guys know about the show at Flower Pepper Gallery that ended on Saturday.

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It was Flower Pepper Gallery’s Sixth Anniversary, so I submitted 6 paintings, and they all sold out before the weekend.  Surprisingly, I had also had a dream that they had all sold, but I wasn’t sure since they didn’t sell until after the opening.  I’m very proud to be a part of Flower Pepper Gallery in Pasadena, among other phenomenal artists who’s creativity is off the charts.  The gallery owner is one of the most generous, kind people I’ve ever met, and I’m lucky to have participated in this wonderful event.

Thank you for reading!

What I do in my Spare Time – Daily Portrait Art Tips by K.L. Britton Los Angeles

Every now and then I get an idea that I want to do a painting that challenges me.  Sometimes it’s a still life, sometimes a figure, sometimes a portrait, and I know it’s going to take a bit longer to get everything in the right place than usual.  One such is this portrait.

When we paint someone or something we know, we tend to fill in the blanks or make guesses based on what we “know” about that person or thing.  For example, I could say I know that this portrait’s eyebrows go at an upward angle with little curve, however when we’re painting or drawing, it’s really essential to let go of all of those pre-conceived notions.  While you may think oranges are round, they’re a series of angles that form a not-perfectly-circular form.

For these kinds of challenges, where I know in advance I will be possibly messing up – I do a sketch.  This isn’t really a “drawing” drawing, it’s more of a quick idea with only as much detail as I need to figure out what challenges I will face when I actually paint.  In this case, I had started the face too wide, the shadows too far from the center of the face.  It’s these kinds of mistakes I would run into when painting, but at that time I may not be able to put my finger on what’s wrong.  Since drawing is the foundation of painting, it’s always best to start with a sketch to check your idea.  Figure out what bothers you before you’ve invested a day into an under-sketch.  Then fix it, and remember to keep an eye on it when painting.  It makes the process much faster!

How to Draw Portraits art tips by contemporary artist K.L. Britton

Here you can see my lay in.  I already corrected the eye on the left that went out too far.

How to Draw Portraits art tips by contemporary artist K.L. Britton

You can see some of the issues have been corrected here – the right (our right, his left!) part of the face has been moved in, the eyes have been corrected, even the nose’s bottom has moved up quite a bit.  All of these are things I’ll look for when I paint.

How to Draw Portraits art tips by contemporary artist K.L. Britton

Here I’ve made several more adjustments.  I’ll probably keep working on this sketch just for fun, but for now, it’s shown me what I need to look out for in the future.

Thank you for reading!

Studies for Days – the Nose Knows – K.L. Britton Art

Yesterday’s adventure involved watching a movie while painting a nose study.  Why a nose, you may ask?  Because in my original painting of this portrait, the nose and right eye both came out a little off.  Instead of shying away, I’m practicing, and when I put it all back together again, maybe it will improve my results.  This is also what I teach my students in my personalized online art classes.  

You’ve got to start with the basics, and then take the time to put them all in the right spot.  The struggle with my beginner students is their desire to put all the details in, and ignore the overall picture.  Often, this will lead to one very realistic eye in the right place, one less realistic eye in the wrong place, and the other features breezed over  in a game of face roulette.  Learn how to do the details (eye, nose, lips, etc) and then take your time putting them together.  Check in a mirror, check in a thumbnail, step way back to check, and then check again.

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Thank you for reading!!

 

More paintings, because that’s how I roll. K.L. Britton Art Los Angeles

K.L. Britton Los Angeles Gallery of Art small Painting

The Sailor, 6×6 Oil on Panel – Available for purchase here.

One of my other obsessions is fountain pens.  This is a Sailor 1911 Extra Fine with a beautiful gold nib and it writes like a dream.  Had to paint it, of course.

Los Angeles Gallery of Art K.L. Britton

You can find the digital version of this study a few posts back.  I may do yet another – this stunning study by Sargent uses a very limited palette, almost a Zorn palette, and yet it conveys so much.  His is unfinished, and so is mine.  6×6 Oil on panel.

Los Angeles Gallery of Art - K.L. Britton Edge Pro Gear Sketchbook Pro Setup in Malibu

My Sketchbook pro setup in the wild.  What an easy setup – I was on, painted, and cleaned up in under an hour!

Thanks for reading!

Oils for Days – The Edge Pro Gear Sketchbook Pro Effect ;)

So in recent news, I got my Edge Pro Gear Sketchbook on the 25th – and I love it.  That’s the long and short of it.  I’ve been able to use it for small studies and since they’re small, I’ve been doing tons of them.  Here is a selection of my first couple.

K.L. Britton Los Angeles Gallery of Art Edge Pro Gear Sketchbook Pro Setup Review

My setup in the wild, on my beautiful Koreatown balcony.  I love the rich historical architecture here, and every sunrise and sunset is an incredible inspiration.  The huge advantage of being in L.A.? The weather is good 99% of the time.  Here is the first study I did on the 28th.  Yay.

The Details:

What I love about the Edge pro gear sketchbook

Portable, easy, strong clamps.  Easy remove palette, so I can stick it in the fridge when I’m not painting for a day.  The magnetic turp jar has never fallen over… It’s a world record!   It also contains a gentle cheese hole area where you can wipe your brushes, my brushes come out 90% clean, and I usually only have to soap them once to finish the job.

K.L. Britton Los Angeles Gallery of Art Edge Pro Gear Sketchbook Pro Setup Bad Review

What I don’t like about Edge Pro Gear Sketchbook, the bad review.

I really only have one complaint… maybe two!  My main gripe is just that my long handled brushes don’t stay on well.  Since they don’t hold on both sides on the tables, they are easy to knock down.  However, my standard handled brushes work great, and I’ve simply switched to a more portable setup with the standard ones!  Easy fix.  My other complaint is that I got a far, far better tripod than the one they sell for a fraction of the price.  My tripod is sturdy, reliable, and beautiful, and cost about $70 on amazon.  It’s more or less an off-brand.  The one they offer online only holds about 2-3 lbs, so if you want to use this tripod with the bigger Edge Pro Gear, you can’t.  The one I got weighs almost the same as the one they sell, but it holds up to 8 lbs – so I can use whichever setup I want when I get myself the larger Edge Pro for Christmas 😉

Overall, it has increased my productivity a millionfold.  I’ve finished more oil paintings in the last two weeks than I had in the whole blackout, where I was concentrating on drawing.  I am very, very pleased.

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Thank you for reading!

Tattoo Shop Special – K.L. Britton +Drawing Tips

In case you missed it, I spent six months apprenticing with Isaac Newman, now of La Cosa Nostra Ink, formerly at Art District Tattoo in North Hollywood.  I learned how to tattoo, starting with the basics, setting up, taking down, and hygiene.  There’s nothing more important than being meticulous about avoiding cross contamination.  I did lots of tattoos, some bad, some great, some took hours, some took minutes.  I loved it.  It’s a new medium I am very interested in.  Added bonus: Painting and drawing when the customers are light is completely expected.  I had a great time, experienced a really wild life, and can’t thank the incredibly talented Isaac enough for the opportunity.  I’m sure there’s some wild stories to tell, they’ll have to wait til later.

K.L. Britton floral painting Modern Art

Peony, Digital study (when I first got my ipad pro!)

Digital Drawing tip #1

My focus on this piece was to really think about broad, loose shapes that would still slightly indicate my subject.  I tend to get pretty interested in details and this occasionally leads me to miss those larger, more important shapes.  One advantage of using the ipad and Procreate is that I can “click out” of the picture – the digital version of stepping back.  When I click out it’s easy to see if the thumbnail makes sense.  If there is a huge drawing error, I can correct it.  We always say it’s very important to use a mirror to see your drawing errors, or to walk away and look at your painting from afar, and I can’t emphasize this enough.  With digital, it’s even easier.  Just check your thumbnail.

Another advantage of this method is that you can do several quick sketches and see them together.  When you see them, it’s easy to understand where you went wrong (or right) in the drawings time and time again, so when you’re putting your pen, pencil, or paint down, you can be ready to avoid or correct those errors in advance.  It makes you a better artist over all when you know what your problems are.

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I was challenged to do a very good portrait in under an hour 😀  This is one that I have painted before, if you recognize it 😉

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I liked to keep this one at my station 😉

Thanks for reading!