Friday, November 30, 2012

Nubian 2


Nubian 2, watercolor on arches cp paper, 30 x 40 cm
This is a new version on a subject that I painted once last year - a Nubian boat sailor from a photo I took in Aswan a few years ago. I am quite happy with this version, but it took me a number of attempts to produce it.

First, I decided to revisit Charles Reid's instructions on painting dark complexions. "Try to mix colors on the paper", "for dark colors do not make your colors very watery", "paint the whole face in one wash on dry paper"... Armed with these advices and without giving it much thought I grabbed the brushes. With the non-watery color mix on a relatively large size drawing no matter how fast I was trying to work, the edges were drying faster. I ended up with some interesting and spontaneous color effects, but overall the face color looked muddy and overdone.

A few days later I decided to try doing several small and quick sketches of this face, using the same technique. The sketch below was the most successful one of them.I quite liked the expression of that face too, so I decided to do another larger painting based on it. Only this time I did it in two more carefully planned washes, one with the lighter colors and the second with the darker. The lesson I learned from this experience is that I should not take the masters' advices literally, but rather should adapt them to my level of experience and to my style.  And, better start small when trying new approaches.
Nubian - sketch, 14 x 14 cm

15 comments:

Judy said...

Fabulous, Blaga! You are so good at portraits! That is an interesting lesson you learned. It's true to use advice from the masters what fits your style.

Sharon Whitley said...

A brilliant portrait and excellent advice - when I've followed demos or advice from famous artists I've also found that you definitely have to adapt it to what works for you - which you have done with excellent results, well done!!

Jane said...

Blaga, you really have an eye ( and a very good hand ) for portraits...this is wonderful and has really great values. Love the expression too, and it was nice to read about how you got here, we can all learn from each others mistakes/steps. xx

AK said...

Both are beautiful. The colors in the second are more lively. You are right starting small does help.

Gordon said...


A superb painting in every aspect!

Lydie said...

Tu te forges ta propre expérience avec ces exercices et je trouve que le petit portrait a beaucoup de spontanéité, c'est très beau.
Bon week-end Blaga.

Mercedes Ares said...

Blaga. eres una gran dibujante y colorista, y los retratos te han quedado muy buenos, además de las felicitaciones te agradecemos poner en comun tus experiencias, que son muy útiles. Un abrazo!!

Rita Vaselli said...

Each of us has a way of touching the color that is personal.
Often , I follow the instructions of other painters (same paper color and brushes) the dose of color that remains on paper .... may be different!
It usually happens to me that is darker. The one is to react the way you did!
Dear Blaga, I had not seen the first portrait, I love it! The second version is more effective, in chiaroscuro, while the first nubian has something in common with that particular sweetness that is the main theme of your portraits (the Sandal maker, Sandy , your Father ...). The last picture is very lively.
Brava as you are, you will choose what looks like your heart!Happy painting!!!

Blaga said...

You are so nice, Judy, but I didn't feel exactly good at the beginning of this exercise, looking at my first attempt :)

Thank you, Sharon! After all adapting the masters' advices is the way to building one's own style.

Thank you, Jane, I'm so flattered by your words!

Thank you, Asit! I agree that the small sketch is quite spontaneous. Still hard to do the same in a larger scale.

Thank you, Gordon, I'm glad yo like the result! Especially after having to listen about my attempts over the last days :)

Merci, Lydie! Je suis content que tu apprécie la spontanéité du petit croquis. Il est encore difficile pour moi de faire la même chose à plus grande échelle.

Muchas gracias, Mercedes, estoy muy contenta de que te guste este trabajo

Thank you, Rita for your very nice comment! You are as good with words as you are with the brush, and you manage to express my thoughts very well :)

Sonia Aguiar said...

Es un retrato muy bueno. Me gusta el colorido y la expresión de toda la cara.
¡Feliz domingo!

Floriana Quaini said...

Ciao Blaga,
I like very very much the first( in alto) portrait...the little smile is beatiful as the colours and the eyes...
Ciao, abbracci, Floriana

Blaga said...

Muchas gracias, Sonia!

Thank you, Floriana, for noticing the little things!

renate said...

Hello Blaga:) Take the best and leave the rest! Easy to remember :)
I think that is what you have done. I love the painting. The foldings in the clotes are beautiful and the background too! The expression on his face is beautiful. Great art.

Tito said...

Congratulations Blaga for these two beautiful portraits. You have a special aptitude for the portrait, I find that your works are becoming every day by day more beautiful and more confident. A hug!

JANE MINTER said...

both portraits have wonderful qualities blaga