- Lesson details
In this video lesson, world-renowned painter Steve Huston will teach you approaches for painting the particularly difficult area of the mouth. Steve will focus primarily on three dimensional structure, simplifying volumes to create a convincing mouth that reads well on the canvas.
- Gamblin Artist Grade Oil Colors
- Simply Simmons Paintbrush
- Canvas Panel
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painting a particularly difficult area of the mouth.
Steve will focus primarily on 3-dimensional structure.
Simplifying volumes to create a convincing mouth that reads well on the canvas.
You will learn the construction of the lips, chin, and bottom of the nose.
It’s an underneath shot, slightly under the mouth so we can see a different perspective
and see a fuller understanding of that structure from that perspective.
Serov was a Russian painter.
He studies under Repin, another great social realist painter.
Serov, Valentin Serov who was 1865-1911 and had a couple of different styles.
He had an earlier style that was more of a Russian Impressionism.
He kind of led the way in that where there is a lot of scintillating light.
Not tons of color because Russia is fairly gray in terms of light.
You didn’t have the rich colors of French Impressionism.
It had the dapple effect.
There is a reflective effect.
Very interested in light and atmosphere.
He was very famous for his portraits.
He did a lot of notable portraits.
He’s considered one of the great Russian realist painters of all time.
In fact there is a minor planet named after him.
Later he changed styles and moved into a more modernist style after the turn of the century.
It had a more linear.
There is still form there, but it flattened and simplified a little bit, and his later
style is just as good as his earlier style, in some ways better.
There is almost and art nouveau attention to the silhouettes.
The comprehensive silhouette of the figure against a much simplified background, whereas
in the earlier stages the environment really informed the figure and was strongly evident.
The later style, that background outerworld element simplified down.
He’s one of my favorite painters.
I just love his work.
He had a limited range of interests.
It was almost all portraits dealing with personalities around him, other artists he would paint and
oftentimes really relaxed poses.
Sometimes he’d do a formal, richer patron like Sargent would where he had this formal
grandeur to it.
Quite often they were informal friends on couches kinds of things.
Just really lovely, intimate insight into the character.
We have a young boy.
I’m not sure how you pronounce it.
Here’s the center line.
Here’s the jaw line.
We’re going to pick up the mouth in here.
We’re going to see some interesting things happen by being underneath this structure.
Now the younger child, let’s say this little fellow is six.
We grow into our jaw.
As we get older our brain size, the skull gets bigger.
Everything gets bigger as you get older, of course, but relatively speaking the skull
and brain size stays fairly constant, and it’s a lower jaw and face that grows.
A little child will have a relatively big, big skull and a relatively small, small face.
This lower part is going to grow bigger and bigger and bigger.
As I said, of course, the skull gets bigger too.
We just get bigger as we get older.
But the more adult face will be here.
A child will be here.
The proportions press down.
What is the midrange for an adult, the eyeline, that’s going to press down much farther
The eyeline is going to be down here closer to the third range, and then everything slopes
back from that nose back to the chin.
The lips are also more fuller, more pouty.
The nose is flatter.
It’s mainly for breastfeeding so that when the little baby presses his or her face up
against mommy they can still breath.
That nose stays flat and the nostrils aren’t covered by the nose.
If it sticks out it gets covered there.
The mouth is very full and pouty.
It thins as you get older and as you get very old you get this stretch, those lips can thin
out radically with age, but they thin out for sure to a great degree.
So older, older, older.
You get an old man compared to a young boy.
The young boy has the really pouty lips as we’ll see here.
With an old man they can be really thin lines, stretched and almost no lip at all.
You’ll see the older actors on TV and movies where they paint their lips to keep the aged
movie star looking younger.
They use soft focus cameras and they’ll actually use makeup to paint the line of the
lip up to make the lip look fuller than it really has become with age.
If you look carefully it oftentimes looks kind of silly the way they’ve painted them.
Many times it gets very just kind of lipstick red on this rugged hero type and doesn’t
Let me draw this in here and then we’ll talk about it.
We always talk about it don’t we?
Here is the bottom plane of the chin.
This is going to wrap up around into the face and fade up right in front of the ear up in
We’re not going to care about that.
This is an unfinished sketch as you will have seen from the image earlier.
And so we have the negative shape of the collar to assure that it has never been worked out.
I just want to put that in here.
Alright, notice the insertion up.
We saw this to a smaller degree on the self-portrait by Van Dyck.
Here we can see it more greatly.
That chin shape, here is this ball shape of the chin pushes up into the center of the
lower lip, and then the lower lip, the sides of the lip sag down, melt down or fold down
And so we get this droopy, pouty action going on.
That is the barrel of the mouth.
The full barrel of the mouth comes all the way pretty much to the nostrils.
If we drew through that chin rather than letting it interrupt us, we’d feel that full barrel.
That barrel is going to curve.
Here is the chin here from a profile.
Here is the nose.
The barrel of the mouth without the lips has a full swing.
It’s very much like the eyeball.
It’s a ball shape.
It’s sliced off more quickly than the eyeball.
The eyeballs bug out a little bit more.
The mouth moves more quickly into the wider planes or planes of the surrounding face.
It bows this way and bows this way.
When we get this three-quarter view, an interesting thing happens.
Since the mouth curves around those teeth underneath, that barrel shape, when we go
into a three-quarter, look what happens.
The far side.
Here’s the philtrum, that little divot about the lips.
Then we have this kind of stretched capital M shape for the line of the upper lips.
Then it’s wrapping around that ball.
So when we go this way this foreshortens quickly.
One of the things we have to pay attention to when we’re drawing the—ah, let me get
rid of this stuff now.
Not the eye, the mouth.
What’ll happen is we’ve got the center line here down the face and the mouth is going
to go, I’m going to take that capital M and just go straight across the top just to
keep things simple.
We’re getting it turning this way.
We see this full stretch of length along from the center out to the corner of the mouth.
Here it’s going around the other side.
This can get very, very short, very, very short like so.
Can you see let me shade the upper lip in a simplified version of the upper lip.
We don’t have the bump.
Here I’ll put it in for you.
See how that wraps around?
This far not side plane, but corner plane.
The corner planes in the front planes so you can use that philtrum as a little front plane
where the M peaks.
It surrounds that philtrum.
The philtrum is creating that.
It’s just pushing down in the lips shape.
The membranes of the lip are going around it.
It stretches out to the corners.
These two corner planes, one front plane and two corner planes, when I go into a three-quarter,
that far corner, that far corner plane gets foreshortened.
Look how long this one is.
Look how short this one is.
That’s our structure there.
Here’s how you draw the line of the mouth real quick or the position of the mouth when
you get an interesting or an oddball perspective of it.
The corners of the mouth are going to track on that same front plane, chin, lower lip,
corners of the mouth, the wings of the nose, the eyeline, the arches of the eyebrows, the
bangs, the symmetrical hairline.
All that stuff is going to track right on up.
Just establish that angle.
You will probably draw on the eyebrow line and all the other things in that same angle.
Draw that angle from corner of the mouth to the corner of the mouth.
Then depending on whether it’s turning into a three-quarter or not, just move your center
line to one side or the other.
Now, what we’re interested in in terms of catching the perspective is where are the
corners of the mouth compared to the middle of the mouth.
You can just use the mouth line the way lips come together.
Where is that center point against those two corner outside points?
Just mark it.
If we’re way underneath something, that center point will be higher.
If we’re on top of it like we were on that self-portrait by Van Dyck, then that center
line will be lower.
In this case, we’re going to do the upper underneathness.
This is now the line of the mouth.
You can round it off if it seems round, and oftentimes it does.
Then you just add your upper lips above it, the same center line
becomes a center plane now.
Oftentimes that upper lip goes into a darker value because it’s stepping back down in.
Then the lower lip fits right here.
There is a little more to it but not a lot more that we have to worry about.
If you want to get all the ins and outs go again to my drawing lecture on the planes
and structure on the mouth.
Do you see how now we have a nice corner?
One last thing is when you’re underneath something oftentimes the face looks pouty
so I turn those corners up just slightly at the end, and that’s what I did here.
Likewise, if we’re on top of something oftentimes it looks like it’s smiling.
You can turn those down.
By doing that you can adjust the expression to the appropriate mood.
Also, you’re then taking this off the barrel of the mouth and on to the cheeks.
It helps give us that out, that finishing of one part and then reintegrating with the
hole that’s so important.
Let’s get painting here our little fellow.
This is a dark, moody portrait, at least the reproduction I have is so.
But we’re going to make it a little bit lighter so we can see everything nicely.
When I’m mixing for a color, a good way to do it is to get the value of the dirty
gray or it can just be the dead gray, then get a similar value of a yellow.
Then get a similar value of a red.
Let’s say we get the value of the gray.
That’s our dirty blue.
We get the value of the red, the same or similar.
It doesn’t have to be exactly right.
We get our three primaries.
Then we can blend them together to get exactly the gray that we’re interested in.
This is super-duper gray.
We’re not going to go that far.
We’ll gray it down just a little bit.
We’re not interested in color in these, really, we’re interested in our structure.
We’ll save color for another problem.
Let’s work out the structure.
Serov oftentimes used a fairly indirect light, a north light.
Oftentimes it was quite soft.
This is a little stronger for him.
It’s a pretty strong nice light.
The more direct light you have, the more distinct light and shadow patterns you have, the easier
it will be to create a sense of volume.
The value changes from the shadow to the light is the biggest kick, the biggest visual clue
we have to show our audience that things are not really on a flat canvas but are in the
round, have true volume.
And so that trick of the eye, that illusion, that gamesmanship is dependent on the values.
If you get a situation in your studio where it’s a really soft light, skylight from
above or a north facing window that is not catching direct sunlight through it or a fluorescent
lights, those softer lights are actually harder to form because there is just subtle differences.
That different value different plane regimen is disrupted.
Then you have to fight to try and show that form, the placement of things and the subtle
transition from one thing to another becomes all important.
There is a lot less room for error.
Serov was a master of that, actually.
Thank goodness we don’t have to mess with that for now.
We’ll do some of that, of course, together, but not in this lecture.
For now we’re dealing with strong light sources so we can get a strong understanding
of those structures as they change.
So here is the nose up here.
Cute little nose.
Now I’m just going to refine these shapes.
The upper lip is pillowy.
They don’t just cut in.
Let’s see here.
They don’t just cut in sharply like that.
They roll around like that.
There is a slower transition generally.
Sometimes you get a sharp cut to it and an art deco painter or a more chiseled painter
like a Leyendecker might well chisel that out.
The same with this upper lid here where the eyebrow of the hair splits and the forehead
starts to turn under.
Sometimes we’ll make that very sharp.
Twenties artist, especially, 20s to 40s would make that a quite sharp transition.
It can be a sharp transition.
The lips the same way but generally the lips are pillowy forms that are bulbous, puff out.
Particularly with a young child that’s true.
When we start to get this three-quarter view, this far lip structure is going to bulge out
a little bit.
It’s actually going to wrap around the lower lip in a very interesting way.
Be patient with me and we’ll see that in a second as we work this out.
You can see here where that—let me lighten that up a little bit more.
You can see that in there where that lip is catching light and then dark as it tucks under
from barrel of the mouth into pillowy membrane of the lips.
Let’s push this down a little bit darker so you can see it.
Okay, so kind of bulbous shapes.
They can throw you because this transition between light and shadow, in between skin
and membrane doesn’t always track.
The pink membrane or the red membrane of the lip material in here is not skin.
It’s a different local color than the fleshy color.
It’s a more richer, darker color.
And so we have a line where that color change happens, but that is not necessarily that
the form change happens.
In this case it tracks pretty well.
We’ll see on the lower lip where it doesn’t track quite as well.
We have to be very careful to watch visually, move along that line and see exactly how the
color change happens compared to the plane change happening.
And the soft transition can do all sorts of interesting fun and tricky, catch you when
you’re not looking kinds of things.
Okay, so there you can see that barrel of the mouth wrapping in perspective as we have
This far side here going dark.
Everything that goes down and to the left in this world gets darker.
Here, let me switch to a better brush for these areas.
Now, let’s stick with what’s going on up here.
Here is the philtrum.
Now, the philtrum is that little divot right there.
I’ve mentioned it a few times in other lectures.
That finishes the nose basically.
The nose comes down and the septum is the split between—it’s a bone that, it might
even be cartilage.
I can’t remember off the top of my head.
It’s a hard form that splits the two nostrils, nasal passages, separates them.
It bulges out in a full form.
Then the philtrum is a convex, a divot out.
This presses out into a volume.
This divots back into a hole.
We get that transition of volume to hole.
That finishes the nose and begins the mouth.
Then the lips, those pillowy lips begin.
Again, let me push this a little darker.
You can see that the philtrum ends above the membrane.
Here are the red lips.
Here is a little bit of skin.
Then the philtrum.
It fades off and it’s just like a crater.
As things turn down to the left it gets darker.
This turns down and to the left.
Gets darker and then slowly rolls back up into light as it comes up the other side of
that bowl, that dish area.
Here is the far side of the nose taking off there.
Then pillowy cheeks are out here.
There is a roundness and lack of change from cheek into chin, really round full curve,
much fuller than an adult would be.
It doesn’t have that transition, that change of the strong chin to make a generic adult.
Here it’s wrapping right under this cute little curve this way.
Alright, now, let me grab a different brush here.
That lower lip is pushing right up in.
Now, one of the issues we have, let’s come over here and make sure I’m on the page
The upper lip pushes out.
Here is the nose here.
Upper lip pushes out and then goes back in to the line of the mouth.
The lower lip pushes out and then goes back in to the line of the chin.
Then the chin is strong or weak.
In this case it’s weak because it’s a little boy.
Notice that the membrane part of the lip is going into a downplane back in the membrane
part of the lower lip is looking up.
Then there can be a little front plane to it too.
The membrane ends about right here.
There is a little bit of downplane to that membrane too.
Then this is all skin.
It goes back to the chin.
The membrane here is here.
The membrane ridge is here that separates out.
Here on the upper lip separates out.
Look what happens.
If I’m looking at this from below as we are here and I’m going to make an extreme
Look at how much visually, how full I see that upper lip.
When I’m down here looking up I see a lot of upper lip.
But look at how little, relatively little I see of the lower lip, about half as much.
That’s why this lower lip is getting thinner.
Look at how this upper lip from the top capital M shape down to the line of the mouth, how
full that is and how relatively narrow, thin the lower lip is because we’re underneath it.
And so there are all these subtle perspective shifts.
I go this way a little bit.
I get less of this side, more of this side.
I go this way a little bit.
I get more of the upper lip, less of the lower lip.
I go down this way.
Since everything is turning away from you somehow and everything is stepping towards
or stepping away from you somehow.
The proportions of each section of each lip can change a lot.
It’s very easy to miss it.
It’s important to kind of slow down and track those structures and track those proportions.
You can just ask yourself, are they the same or is one thinner?
If it starts to get confusing, it can cause all these little pieces.
Take the tip of your brush and line up.
Close one eye.
Line up your brush tip to say the upper edge of the upper lip.
Bring your thumb down to the line of the lip and then bring the tip of the brush to the
line of the lip and see whether the lower lip is more or less where
your thumb has marked it.
Like I said, there is no pretext of trying to capture the colors of this.
It’s a moody Brown School and very gray.
Artists tend to paint their environment.
If you’re in Spain or California or New Mexico you’re going to paint in bright colors.
Like Sorolla, the California plein air artists did, like Granville, Redman, and Guy Rose
and stuff, or Tao school did like the Georgia O’Keefe and Fechin.
In Russia things get rather gray for long periods of time, and so their palette tends
to be grayer.
We paint our environment.
Most people are a produce of their environment on some level.
Let’s get a little more paint here so we can move things along.
I’m just going to load up here and get a couple variations of those colors.
Yellower, redder, and a little bluer purple.
Now we have the pouty area.
We’re just seeing a little sliver of it, and we’ll deal with that momentarily.
Let me get this in here.
But on the fuller side that’s facing towards us, we get a lovely transition here, gradation.
When I want to do a gradation I just zigzag and we get that transition out there.
Let’s get our chin here laid in there.
Scrub it in and let me correct it with a shadow shape.
As I define these forms and proportions, I’m really using the negative shape to define
the positive shapes, and I’ll show you what I need here.
Now the chin needs to bump over and so I’m correcting the light side of the chin with
the shadow side of the chin.
We’re underneath this chin and so it gets very narrow.
It’s a very narrow little chunk because a lot of the plane has dropped into shadow
on the underside and foreshortened away from us a little bit.
Then we have the pouty cheeks too.
We don’t have the full cheekbone developed because that jawline is not built up.
So the big jaw with the masseter and the temporalis muscles
that chew your food, masticate is to chew.
The masseter muscle does most of it.
The temporalis muscle by the temple does some of it too.
We haven’t defined those powerful forms, and so we don’t have a powerful separation.
And so the cheek is quite subtle and ball like.
We don’t have that pushing out of the big cheekbone and down the strong jaw.
It all kind of rounds together.
And so you can see these pouty lines here.
There you fully realized.
So big, full, puffy lips, real pouty outside corners.
Now watch how, let me switch over to a more finely tuned brush.
Let me put the lips in here with a little highlight.
You can see that.
Now, here is the membrane.
Get that out here.
Membrane separating from the skin.
We have a secondary little separation down here.
It’s just like the fabric pinch off of a tension point.
It might radiate out those folds.
That’s what’s happening here.
It’s radiating out this way, this way, and this way as the chin pushes up and the barrel
of the mouth pushes down.
This pouty material squeezes out.
It’s like too much batter in the waffle iron.
It’ll squeeze out on you.
We get those radiating lines of stress.
The corner of the mouth separates quite strongly here as shown with
that little highlighter, lighter half-tone.
I’m going to push these things here.
You can see that line of the mouth is fairly hard-edge, fairly hard-edged
The transition from mouth into the upper lip is a little more soft edged.
We can even get a little ridge here.
You can see how that—let me darken this a little bit more.
See how that kind of flares out over that red lip.
Then we have the lower lip falling away.
And so this gets much darker as it’s rolling out of light.
This all drops down.
Then you can see right here, see that little pillow.
Let me lighten the other side slightly.
Let me make it more so than my friend Serov has done
so you can see it.
See how this is a little pillow shape, a little egg shape here, a little egg shape here, another
little egg shape here.
This far egg shape is dropping off that way.
This egg shape is more directly at us although we’re a little underneath it.
We can see that transition there.
And so these subtle little forms have developed this pinching fabric of the skin.
I want you to think of this flesh as just very tight fabric, and fabric is just very
They are really under the same dynamic of support and compression and gravity.
See how that full barrel of the mouth here
rolls back over.
I’m knocking this down a notch so it stays a downward facing plane that’s different
than this upward facing plane.
It’s very light as it gets up against the nose and then pulls on down here.
Okay, so that’s that, more or less.
Now, this far ball, we need to resolve this far side.
We’ve got this side of the mouth pretty well set.
You can see how we can reintegrate that corner of the mouth back into the surrounding.
See that comes out of that corner and goes back into this stuff?
This lower lip finishes off as a pillow, but then we always have an out.
Look for the outs on your forms, your features, and the structure will separate itself off.
Show itself with its clear lovely structure and then flow back into the hole.
Come right back in and find a way in.
We don’t want to outline our features to separate.
We want them to reintegrate.
Alright, so here is our far side of the lip dropping down here.
What we have here is a little bit of reflected light showing us that far structure which
is useful and appropriate and exactly why he chose that lighting scheme.
There is that lower lip.
Here is the lower lip getting it out from the mouth structure.
Here it is here going back into that pouty structure down this way in a deep perspective.
Then this is a reflected light down here.
Lights lighten it up a little bit more.
You see that far side pouty structure now?
Then it defines clearly, beautifully how the upper lip wraps around.
Bear with me here.
Let me get this out.
It wraps around that lower lip.
It kind of wraps around it.
Let me finish that off so you can see that clearly.
Notice how this tone drags up along that membrane.
We’re going to get the same thing here.
We’re going to drag up.
See the lovely symmetry?
One of the great joys in art is getting that symmetry/asymmetry.
We know, give or take a quirky expression, that this corner of the mouth is going to
be doing the same thing as this corner of the mouth.
There are symmetrical.
What’s here is here.
But now we’re going to put it in a symmetrical position.
We’re going to tilt the head.
We’re going to turn the head.
We’re going to lift the head.
And now that same symmetry, which is structurally the same is visually quite different.
Now we have to deal with that issue and all of its repercussions, how it changes the shape
of itself and how it then affects other shapes.
Let’s finish that out.
So here is that pouty structure there.
This pools out here.
drawing something that’s organic, imperfect, it’s not perfect egg.
It’s not a perfect box or whatever form we’ve conceived.
Life evolves over time.
The curves will evolve over distance and change.
They will go quicker or slower.
Rise or fall.
Wobble or stretch.
And so that variation on the them is what makes it look real and organic and alive and
Whereas if we just made it an egg, just made it a 2 x 4 let’s say for the wrist, just
an egg for the thenar eminence here, it would just be overly simplified and a little mechanical.
We saw that in the Thayers where they’re so simplified and regimented that they start
to become manufactured.
It can be a lovely direction, but it’s a little less real.
It’s a little less complex in feel.
So, what we want to do is when we have the transition down, let’s say from lip to chin,
I’m going to anchor it.
Where they meet I’m going to press a little darker accent, just all of a sudden flare
it slightly darker so I put a slightly blacker brown right there.
I put a blacker brown right there and/or I’m going to put a lighter accent there.
By forcing those quickening of the tone, where it should have just kind of rolled maybe from
darker, darker, darker; lighter, lighter, lighter; it went darker, dark; lighter, lighter,
light; and it bumped it.
I didn’t mean to yell at you there.
It accented, kicked into gear that form and made it feel like it wobbled a little bit,
made it slightly imperfect.
Anyway, you can see instead of blending I’m just hatching.
I’m going to push this lighter than it is.
I’m always pushing the structure a little stronger than it is so you can see it clearly
so we can get the lesson out of it.
The subtleties can be put in later, but if we make them overly subtle then we’re going
to make them possibly overly simple.
We’re going to miss the complexity that was really there waiting to be discovered.
Okay, let’s do one little more, and I’m going to
As I put more accents in here, it’s going to actually age this little fellow.
He’s soft and round and when we put those little more chiseled shapes there, it can
really affect the feel of it, the character of it.
Okay, so we have two pillowy forms there and then real quickly here, sometimes we’ll
get two pillowy forms on top, but more often than not, we’ll get three forms.
I put a little accent here, a little accent there, and a little accent there.
You don’t have to have all of them, necessarily.
What’s happened is we have a little triangular pillow out at the corners, and we have a little
heart-shaped pillow in the center.
That philtrum comes down and we get that heart shape.
We have these three pillows together, two triangles and one heart shape.
Where they come together they don’t quite come together perfectly oftentimes.
And so the corners of the mouth, these little corners, sometimes that tip can all get a
little bit darker because these pillowy shapes that are below don’t quite seal the deal.
Where these two pillows come and meet this one pillow we get a little deeper hole because
the seal is slightly broken.
Then where this poops out here, the cheek comes over here.
Then we get a little darker.
Cheek, lower lip, upper lip all come together but not quite so well, and so those little
corners can get a little darker.
I put little dark accents there to suggest that.
You don’t always need to put those in, but they are absolutely something
that can show up.
Let’s stop there.
That is the structure of the mouth.
Thank you, Mr. Serov.
We can now see quite a bit more of these structural proportion problems and these lovely transitions
from round form to round form as they move through that affected space.
Alright we’re going to look at one more section on the mouth.
This is a Rembrandt portrait of an old guy in an, elder, not real old but an older gentleman
in a military costume, and we’re just going to look at his mouth.
Let me get my turpentine out here.
There is just a, we just want to see how it’s aged.
We did just finish the little boy by Serov, and now we have Rembrandt
1609 to 1669, I believe.
He was a later, younger contemporary of Rubens.
They were in different areas.
Rembrandt was in Amsterdamn.
Rubens was in Denmark.
We can see now the face, the lips, how thin it is.
We have that pouty line here.
He’s got this pursed expression.
Little bit of hair on the chin there.
His sparse goatee.
These same structures are here.
Here is then the barrel of the mouth working through.
That chin comes up and intrudes again, but a much fuller chin than
a little boy would have.
The proportion of this is huge compared to what that little fellow had before.
We have this interesting kind of half-light.
Everything over here is almost all in shadow.
There is some glancing light on the eye.
Everything over here is in light.
It’s almost a profile.
You have this line down the face, the nose and the mouth and everything, lips going here.
Then the corners of the mouth get much stronger shapes.
We’re going to have a thinning of the lips, a flattening of those pouty structures.
A lengthening of the chin, and a dragging down, an intrusion of the cheek into the corners
of the mouth to pull these kind of frown lines down.
They can make the person look kind of sad if you’re not careful.
Let’s get a little bit, go a little yellower since we’re doing Rembrandt.
You can get some of these bits in here, and we’ll do a little bit of the goatee too
so you can see how the hair would fit into this scheme.
We’ll do at some point a lesson on hair, beards hair on the head and all that kind
It’s interesting stuff to play with.
One more thing to talk about.
There are always things to talk about.
That’s our light side.
The nose comes down very close.
His head is not tipped down, down, but it’s forward a little bit.
He’s got a strong hook nose.
This is getting very close there.
Then let’s get in our Brown School shadows.
With Rembrandt and these groups, they are usually some kind of burnt umber.
I’ll just rub that back to cover more and dry it out a little bit.
That’s all shadow up there.
We have this corner of the mouth.
It intrudes into the lips there strongly.
That more to the side light source exaggerates that effect.
Then we’re going to feel how that mouth pulls down into the jowl area.
We can feel it pick up into the chin area.
Then this central lip, central edge of the lower lip, a little grayer here.
It’s pulling into here and these are very subtle.
This is a military—I don’t know this guy’s story—military guy, patron.
He may well have been part of the militia.
Rembrandt has a famous Nightwatch piece, which is the city militia with all the top dogs
of the city who were not so far up that they could be above it all but still had dealings
with the city.
They were part of the militia.
They’d get their own armor and costumes and regalia.
This guy looks like he’s part of that.
He’s probably a well-to-do guy, I’m guessing.
People are probably screaming at me who know the story of this painting.
I probably should have looked at it before I painted it.
But I didn’t because we’re just doing a mouth.
But anyway, he’s dressed up where he is a firm, masculine fellow who is a soldier
or wannabe soldier and is not going to be pouty like a little boy would be.
Men don’t complain.
We’re seeing just the slight brushing of the hairs of the face affecting the color
and a little bit of the form.
We have this soft mustache that is actually pulling up like a Saturday morning [cartoon]
villain but just very subtly.
Then the chin structure is going to pull off here and take us right back into that pouty
Just that much.
Now Rembrandt, and I love Rembrandt for this.
A lot of the structural impressionists would do this too, the Sargents, the Zorns, the
Chases, the Serovs.
He’s just really drawing in the shadows.
Here is that same pouty structure with the hair of the beard and the core shadow.
And so all of that is just drawing.
He’s doing such a lovely job over here of showing the form that we assume he showed
us the form in the shadow so it’s really a slight of hand.
If you let them you’re audience will do most of the work for you.
If you do a good job in the lights they’ll do the shadow for you.
If you do a good job in the foreground, they’ll do the background for you.
I would argue that’s the way you want it because you want to engage them.
If you give them everything you’ve given them everything.
They have nothing to contribute, and the story has been told and they move on.
But if you leave it open-ended, you don’t give them everything, or if they have to work,
if they have to contribute in some way, then they are going to be engaged.
They are going to feel connected to it, obliged to it, and emotionally
drawn to it we would hope.
All I’m doing is picking out how the lower lip makes its transition into that pouty mouth
structure, barrel of the mouth structure.
I’m just hatching over this.
This is the way Frans Hal would work on some of these subtler areas.
He was always drinking these smiling louts and lushes who were sitting in the bar.
Somebody is on somebody’s lap.
They’re holding up an ale that they’ve been drinking too much of, having a great
So those flamboyant, ribald, crazy party animals would be painted with this incredible energy.
He had a huge effect on a lot of artists, Rembrandt and others.
In some of these subtler forms he would just hatch in.
He would do it with more energy than I’m doing it here.
It would just be a hatching job, not a hatchet job, a hatching job of getting those little
forms to stitch together.
Okay, let me pop the highlight here.
The lips, those big nice pouty lips that the little boy had, full pillows, big fluffy pillows
of form have now been stretched into this thin, tight line where most of the volume
has been lost.
It’s atrophied over time, thinned out, hardened up.
Those corners oftentimes get a little darker
than they do with Mr. Rembrandt’s painting here.
If you vary that line, weight or darkness it’s going to seem more real, more attractive,
and so he has a very sensitive line that varies.
It pulls way down into here.
Let me change my color a little bit, and then this nice beard, goatee picks up in here.
You can see where that hatching theme can be.
We play in the gray beard.
He has a gray beard.
Typical Rembrandt light, light, light, so he’s going to play as many lovely affects
with the light as he can, and so the mustache is catching light over here.
Little hairs are trailing out and catching just the barest bit of light.
He’s got a really great ear that I think we might use for our ear lecture
in our next go-around.
You can see now, thinned out, stretched like pulling that rubber band finer.
The forms are all still there.
We still get the pillowy shape.
We still get the subtle separation where the membrane ends and the skin begins.
Get over here.
Let me make that a little bit stronger.
Here the corners of the mouth where the cheeks come in and intrude onto the mouth become
not fuller—you get those nice big pillowy cheeks that we saw on the little boy—but
they start to intrude and push in and drag down the mouth.
As you get older and older and older, and this guy is, I don’t know, I’m terrible
at age, he’s probably 50.
He’s in my age range in there.
But these lines will start to break more and more so I played it up a little bit more.
Same up where the nostril, the wing I should say of the nose ends against the cheek, will
get a nice corner here.
This will start dragging down too.
These will eventually, they haven’t happened yet, these will eventually connect together.
This line here and this line here starting to get more and more
dipping, dropping, separating those forms.
This will start to get a deeper line and cut in more.
Those forms will grow and separate.
Okay, so that is an older gentleman’s lips and how it changes from
a young boy to an old man.
Free to try
1. Lesson Overview38sNow playing...
1. Intro to mouth structure14m 52sNow playing...
Watch the whole lesson with a subscription
2. Understanding forms15m 48s
3. Understanding forms continued15m 16s
4. Shadows & color14m 49s
5. Structure and form of cheeks & chin8m 24s