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Friday, August 21, 2015

Hugh - This weeks 2.30hr practise portrait from a model

25 x 30cms 
Oil on canvas
I haven't been going regularly and felt a bit out of practise but I was really happy with Hugh's portrait.I feel I have captured something of his nature.
I also accidently learnt a new technique.I always struggle to find colours that bring the darker areas of the portrait to life but still retain the form/ likeness. The shadows in his portrait are thin and luminous. I'd like the portrait to be a bit more colourful and could alter a few minor things but for a quick study I think it worked well!
Below - partially done..

I paint on fairly smooth canvas that I buy in a roll and cut to suit.I like this as I don't have much space so I can store the finished paintings compactly in layers in a draw.

 The start! Most artists wouldn't show you this stage as it's pretty bad! A painting constantly evolves and I am continually changing things until I am happy with the likeness and overall affect.
 I've added some in between tones / shades to build up his face. This is a difficult angle both for the artist and model. You need to get the profile shape just right and it's easy for the model to move slightly so in one session you may see a lot of his far eye and in the next none. If you just blindly copy whats in front of you end up with a distorted portrait. Luckily Hugh was very good and kept the same angle although I had already taken a photo to help me get the correct angle in case he didn't.

 I realised he needed more forehead so the image grew as I extended his forehead onto the tape that held the canvas onto the paper..I always seem to do my best works on the worst canvas's! grr 

Below-  Here I've started getting some of the darker areas in and refined his profile as I started the background.
 After a break I decided his general head shape was wrong and his nose and far eye needed adjusting. This is probably about an hour into the portrait.

Below- Finally I'm happy enough with the blue acrylic underpainted likeness to start going over the top with Oil.

 I love painting with Oil as I find it  has more guts and the darks stand out so much better than the acrylic.
 Technically you are supposed to work from dark to light with Oil but I wanted to do the fun bits first ! I did all the highlights ( lightest bits). For once we had flattering lighting.
I usually have trouble deciding on a colour for the shadow side of faces. When I paint for myself I like to use as much colour as possible.Today I accidentely came across a technique which really worked- I only put a thin layer over the blue and it looks more transparent. Although not as colourful as I'd like it's a useful technique to add to my arsenal.

 Closeup of the shadowed cheek area

Almost there! One of the other artist said I should leave the blue peaking through and although I was tempted I needed to subtly tone areas down. The white horizontal line at the top is where I've painted over the tape holding the canvas on.

Here he is again 'finished'. I've subtly refined his lips to capture a fleeting expression , adjusted his chin , added light bits on his hair and generally bought it all together.

The 'Bullock mural' in the Cessnock Advertiser 13th August 2015