Thursday, March 13, 2014

"Just A Thought" 9x12", And a Lesson in Painting the Eye

Terry stopped in to pose for our Open Studio session last night.  Since I had been painting all that day, I was warmed up and ready to go.  I put down thick paint with a bare minimum of detail.  I decided to stop painting as soon as I had a good gesture.  If I noodled it with it any more, I think I would have killed the spontaneity.

In my Monday Evening Portrait class, we have been working on painting features.  Here is my method for painting an eye ( I used a #2 filbert brush for the entire process):

 We will use a photo of Christy for our model.

 After putting down a base of light skin tone, I find the entire shadow area of the eye socket.  I put this in with a middle value of purple warmed with a bit of cadmium red.

 On the top of the shadow form, I paint in the brow with a dark mixture of ultramarine blue and burnt sienna.

 Once the brow is in, I can see where the iris belongs.  Using the same mixture as the brow, I loosely paint in the iris.

I add the lash line with the same dark mixture.

 I add the "white" of the eye, which in reality is a very light gray.  I find the lid crease and darken it.

 And now for the fun part-- the details!  I highlighted the lid and the brow bone.  I darkened the shadow underneath the eye to give it more dimension.  Then I added a hint of red in the tear duct and placed a tiny highlight on the eye between the pupil and the colored area of the eye.  I lightened the eye color on the bottom half of the iris.  Voila!


  1. You make it all look so easy Ann! Wonderful reminder on painting the eye. Turned out great! And I love the portrait above that. Perfect gesture and just enough information!

  2. Love the portrait Ann...wonderful palette! I haven't painted eyes since I stopped teaching my classes. I might have a little practice again, thanks for sharing:)

  3. Oh my, so different than painting in watercolor. I do love your portrait.