I quickly separated the major elements of the picture knowing I could always use the smudge tool to put them back together.
Using some color controls (in a graphics programe), I removed color from the grey. This has the effect of giving the picture tints of the opposite (complimentary) hues without affecting the contrasts (values). In this operation I applied color theory regarding complements - while keeping the values bright. The reason for this is important. In previous lessons I have talked about the theory of 'subtractive' color and how we use it in painting. The theory I use here is called 'addative color theory' and is commonly used in photography, film and computer imaging. Simply put the spectrum hues combine to produce white light, and the removal of one leaves a predominance of the rest. In other words if we had a red, blue and yellow spotlights and shone them all on a blank screen they would produce white. White then is the sum (addative) of all the colors. If we subtract red then the white spot will turn green, subtract blue and orange will appear etc.
To produce the hues above I started with ovals of white. In the first I subtracted red, the second green and the third blue. This is how what they call 'additive' color, works!
In this manner I applied hue (color) to the hat and uniform, the face and the shirt.
Next I put them roughly back together.
I gave the cheeks and the bottom lip a little extra blush with a computer paintbrush.
This meant I still had a raw figure with no background ...
So I searched for a background that might describe the nature of the war the man fought. I wanted a stark, riveting but an atmospheric scene. I found what I wanted but it was tiny. This was not necessarily a disadvantage as I could repeat some facial and clothing hues in the top half of the background.
I created the background then smudged again with my smudge brush.
So we went from this ... to ... wait! Two final toutches before cropping
1. Make the eyes come alive with a tiny reflection - my hand slipped a little with the second ...
2. A little highlight as well on the bottom lip.
Somehow I hope the man has briefly come alive but as all life surely passes as fast as a summer cloud shades a distant hillside ... anyway sometimes a mundane task can lead to distant thoughts and maybe a little unexpected humanity.
STUDENT ACTIVITY: Paint a color diagram that explains the theory of addative color. Hint ... look in the photography or printing sections of the library. Allow 40min.
GO TO painting clothing menu
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