With the success of Pastimes for a Lifetime’s June 2016 Portrait Demo + Workshop by Ignat Ignatov, we inquired if he would consider providing a second workshop at the studio. Lucky for us, he agreed!
Ignat chose this time to focus on how to paint a realistic eye in oils or acrylics.
The workshop was held at Pastimes for a Lifetime on Sunday, September 11, 2016 from 10am – 2pm. Attendance was fully booked with a waiting list. Ignat began with a demo.
After guests settled in, Ignat reminded us to be aware of how the light source moves across a sphere or ball. Since eyes are orbs, he reviewed the definitions of the Core Shadow, Cast Shadow, Highlights, Half-Tones and Reflected Light on a round object.
He pointed out that the relaxed eye has eyelids that overlap the iris and pupil. This avoids the problem of painting a surprised or scared looking eye.
Ignat paints eyes as if he were sculpting them, not drawing them. When painting from a photograph, the highlights are studied to determine the location and temperature of the light source. He blocked in the eye socket with Yellow Ochre, leaving details for later.
Dark tones of the eye lashes and the portion of the eyebrow that begins in the eye socket, were added using a mix of Ivory Black and Alizarin Crimson. Black by itself can look flat. Adding Alizarin Crimson gives the black a richer hue. He remarked that eyelashes were like an umbrella, casting shadows on the eye. It was pointed out that the eyebrow, as it goes up from the eye socket, moves into the forehead area. That means the eyebrow is not painted as one dark line. Instead, it changes tones in the areas that receive more light.
Skin tone was mixed and applied to cover up the white canvas, including the white portions of the eyes. Using the Zørn palette, he mixed Titanium White, Yellow Ochre and Cadmium Red. Brown for the medium dark areas was mixed from Yellow Ochre, Cadmium Red and Ivory Black.
Ignat’s tip for painting green or blue eyes: do not use green or blue paint! Simply mix Titanium White and Ivory Black to create a cool gray. When placed next to the warm skin tone, the cool gray looks blue. Add Yellow Ochre to the mix for a green eye.
Since the tear duct is the warmest area on an eye, a pink mixed from Alizarin Crimson and Yellow Ochre was boldly applied and then softened with skin tone. The upper hemisphere of the iris was darkened by mixing a little brown in the shadow area.
Once the skin tones and shadows of the eye were to Ignat’s satisfaction, placement of the highlight was next. For a wet looking eye where all edges are kept soft, the highlight should have hard edges. He applied a white tinted with blue, with a palette knife.
Final blending of tones was completed with a palette knife. Additional reflective lights were added with a brush for the final touches.
The final painting was breathtaking.
After a short break, guests selected an eye image from a selection provided by Ignat, and got to work. Ignat made his rounds, graciously providing well-received assistance.
At the end, guests were asking when Ignat’s next workshop will be. He hinted at October 2016. Stay tuned!
Special thanks to office manager, Jessica Lee Sanders for her excellent admin and social media help with this wonderful event.
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