Portrait Painting in Oils

Wausau Museum of Contemporary Art

September 27, 28, 29, 2019
9:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. with a lunch break

In this class, students will improve upon their overall approach to painting the portrait with an emphasis on brush control, paint mixing, and color harmony. We will approach painting by learning to see our environment as composed of simple shapes and values, lay down shadow and light masses with confident brushwork, which will lead to stronger visual statements and weightier paintings. Students will work from a live model, beginning with short poses in monochrome and gradually work up to longer sessions in full color enabling them to make quicker decisions leading to a more intuitive approach when handling the paint. This class is designed for all levels of painters who have had some life drawing experience. Jennifer Balkan will be doing demonstrations throughout the workshop and students will be working from a live model.

Our goal is to see the face as an abstract composite of dark and light shapes (values) in order to create a strong value statement and to get proportionally accurate facial features, both of which will contribute to a compelling composition and statement of light and shadow.   We will begin our study doing simple three-value studies using a monochromatic palette in order to focus solely on values. We will later discuss color; specifically, some color theory, color harmony and choosing a palette.  We will mix paint together.  And afterwards, we will do limited palette studies, beginning with very short poses and increasing time.

About the Instructor:
Jennifer Balkan paints the human figure and portrait using broken, bright colors with intense, rapid brushstrokes. Having first studied behavioral neuroscience, garnering her Ph.D in 2001, it is no surprise that her work captures the emotional state of her subjects. Throughout her life she has been drawn to art making, however she did not devote herself full-time to this pursuit until 2002, when she quit her full-time job doing social scientific research.  In a relatively short time, her career as an artist has skyrocketed to an impressive level of success – with awards and exhibitions both nationally and internationally, she has had works included in several museum exhibitions and private collections all over the world.  Her work has appeared in over two dozen print publications and she was recently was named by the Austin Chronicle as the “best visual artist” for 2015.  She currently lives and paints in Austin, TX.