Monday, July 15, 2013

Bill Schneider's Demo at IAPS

Another pastel portrait demo I was fortunate to witness was Bill Schneider's demo of a young woman's portrait with her hair pulled back into a braid.  His approach had similar measuring and temperature ideas, but his pastel application was much different, as was his approach to color.

Using a Kitty Wallis Belgium Mist grey paper mounted on a board from Dakota, he applied a creamy color on the forehead, warm reds in the center cheek area and a green for the lower third of the face, then blended them into the paper with a gloved hand.  He had a mix of Unison, Terry Ludwig and Sennelier pastels.

Our Model

After the initial blending of color, he started measuring from the inside out.  He determined the center line, and the angle of the tilt of the head (the line wasn't just straight up & down).  He measured the inner corners of the eyes to the mouth, the bottom of the lip to the chin, the thirds of the face; he then took care to get the angles of the chin, eye width, head shape, etc. all drawn lightly in charcoal over the pastel.

Bill took care to mention the five main shadows of the face:  eye sockets, under the nose, top lip, under the lips, and under the chin.  He started the shadow under the chin with a warm brown, which he will then modify later.  Other good advice was to find the lightest light, the darkest dark and the hardest edge....may be in the hair, on the shoulder, in the clothes, etc.

"Value trumps temperature, trumps color."  Bill also mentioned shapes first, then values, color temperature and edges.  Design is everything.  I believe he used the blue around her face as the light temperature was also contrasted nicely with the warmth of her face.

"Squint down to where the hair joins the head....very soft."  He cooled and modified that warm chin shadow..."the eyes are very soft....the pupil is the darkest.  Make the upper surface of the lower lids light....purpley pink light on the upper lid due to veins and blood vessels.  Eyes and lips are always in motion - soft.  Don't paint them too sharp or they'll look pasted on.  He worked as he taught, making sure, confident strokes and explaining why.  A camera projected his work so the crowd could follow.

"With the facial plane changes, so the temperature changes from warm to cool.  Also slight value changes or half-tones within the value family.  Don't put highlights in the middle of eyes...they'll look like cataracts."

Lots of good tips and advice....making it look so much easier than it is.  Thank you Bill Schneider!
To see more of his work and learn about his workshops and DVD's see his site here.

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Check out my website for my upcoming classes at the Artscenter of Carrboro soon at

Happy painting!


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