Sunday, August 12, 2018

Irish Fiddler Dylan Foley

At a house concert in upstate New York, I open my gouache sketchbook in my lap to paint Irish fiddle champ Dylan Foley.

(Link to video on YouTube)

Here's what I try to do at each stage:

Step 1. The watercolor-pencil drawing locates
the elements. A big gray wash lowers the tone.
There's a moment of hesitation as I worry that 
the wash will erase the drawing.

Step 2. I place the features as spots, as if
I'm seeing the scene out of focus. Next, the
big darks establish the poster-like pattern.

Step 3. Interpreting the tones of the face in two 
values first, then finding halftones and variations.
Because Dylan is in constant motion, I can find
the most characteristic aspects that would not 
show up in a static pose.  

Step 4. Bringing in some background color, I
now have all the basic tones and colors worked out
and can begin focusing on nuances. Things like
glasses and details of the fiddle can wait.

Step 5. Gouache lets me get small details but 
also I can go back and soften edges. I want the
blow hand blurry because it's always in motion,
so I soften the paint and set up a blur. 

Finish. I letter his name with a fountain pen in the Irish 
Gaelic Alphabet. Some of the action lines on the 
far left are done with a gray watercolor pencil.

On Instagram, vjoy1 asks: "How do u fix a pose when subject is moving...??. and what is your motive to achieve extreme likeness or a representation?"

jamesgurneyart@vjoy1 Musicians reliably return to poses. As they move around, you seek after the most characteristic aspects of the person. You can’t get that with a static pose, which is why 19th century portrait painters like Sargent, Sorolla, and Zorn worked from dynamically moving or talking subjects.-----
Previously: Gouache Materials List
Dylan Foley / Deliriously Happy 

Dylan Foley and Dan Gurney / Irish Music of the Hudson Valley
Amazon Music

Portraits in the Wild / Painting People in Real Settings
DVD from manufacturer
DVD from Amazon


A Colonel of Truth said...


Jim Douglas said...

Jim, I'd like to request another instructional DVD:

"Painting Traditional Irish Musicians in the Wild" :)

M.Russo said...

hey James, I've watched the youtube video and read the blog post and I applaud the effort of sketching and painting moving subjects. Only those who attempt knows how difficult it is. This last piece got me thinking, is there any reason why you did go with yellowish hue for head and red for the neck? Was it artistic decision or direct reference? Thanks