As many of you know I frequently blog about master drawings and the process of how they were created. I am currently taking a master drawing techniques class at the Art League in Alexandria, Virginia. The instructor, the renowned Robert Liberace, is an accomplished painter, draughtsman and sculptor.
Model Lily Dunlap with Robert Liberace as he sets up the pose.
In todays class Liberace created two very different portraits using watercolor washes. The portraits were of my husband and daughter who modeled in 18th costume.
Robert Liberace working on painting of Lily in 18th century costume.
For Liberace the process starts with setting up the pose and lighting. As he choreographs the pose he thinks about the light, form, pattern and composition. For the watercolor painting he did of Lily he used a monochromatic watercolor wash on Twinrocker handmade paper. Watercolor wash, unlike ink wash, can be moved around and manipulated, ink wash tends to stain the paper.
Watercolor wash painting of Lily by Robert Liberace.
As Liberace builds up the form he is conscious of not over working the dress, he wants to keep the image fresh and fluid. He lets the white of the paper show through as the highlights and lighter values. he uses dark accents to describe areas of shadow. The fluidity of his brushwork is remeniscent of Tiepolo. The figure’s dress and pose recall Rococo artists such as Watteauand Fragonard.
Sam Dunlap posing as a buccaneer.
For the watercolor portrait of Sam, as a buccaneer, Liberace started with a light graphite sketch and progressed to blocking in the flat areas of color with light washes. As he worked he carefully observed the model and the nuances of light, shadow and color temperature. The resulting portrait is a sensitive study, done with a confident and energetic brushwork, that captures the character of the sitter.
Watercolor wash portrait of Sam by Robert Liberace.