Creating a portrait is more than just placing eyes, nose and mouth. It is an exciting combination of all sorts of factors that make it so special.
A face is literally always in motion and can change expression in the blink of an eye. For example, when you look at someone who is talking to you, their face looks like a landscape of ever-changing emotions. Eyes, mouth, muscles, skin color, shadows: everything is constantly moving. If you want to show this in a still image, you can use all kinds of visual effects. Combinations of colour, unexpected angles and all kinds of details can create a multitude of impressions in the viewer. At the same time, there is also movement in what a person wants to show of himself or the other in the portrait being painted. As an expression of an opinion or of a very vulnerable feeling. Or an expression of identity.
What will we be doing?
This week you will study making a portrait in different ways. You will do so with drawing and painting materials, such as pencil, charcoal, pastel crayon, acrylic paint and gouache. First you make studies, both with a live model and each other as examples, but also in response to newspaper photographs and television, for example. You study different facial expressions and the transitions between them. You dive into the extremes: emotions such as joy and sadness, aggression, fear and ecstatic happiness, love.
In addition, you interview someone to see how you might process background information. You explore what influence soft and hard colours and a lot or a little bit of contrast can have. Placement and the space around the portrait also play a role in how we experience it. As your final project, you will create one large “portrait” a head, incorporating all sorts of things you have studied during the week. This “person” does not have to be recognizable as a portrait as we are used to. It contains elements that you think are important to the idea you have developed during the first days of the week.