Friday, 30 April 2010
Portrait of Beth
Painted on Cotman 140lb/300gsm, not, acid free.
image © frank Bingley 2010.
Last night I thought that I would try my hand at a portrait, having seen some gorgeous work on the Internet. I know what your thinking - yes you look at some lovely watercolours and they spur you on to get out your paints and have a go yourself, only to end up dissapointed at your own dismal attempt! Well anyway, I had a go.
Beth is my daughter-in-law's sister's daughter. I took the original photo earlier this month at one of my grandson's 1st birthday party. Printing the image out A4 size gave me a better chance of getting the proportions right. Starting with a very minimal sketch, I really struggled to get a good likeness even though the proportions seemed correct. This I followed with an 07 pigment liner pen, using the pencil lines as a guide, then erasing the pencil marks. Using water colours, I started with applying the first wash over her face, adding more layers of colour and different shades to bring out the form. Next came the lips followed by the eyes. Not until the whole face was finished did I start on the her dress, hat and then lastly background.
Though I am fairly pleased with the work, and have learnt much in the process, it isn't as spontaneous as I had hoped, largely due to the fact that I used too strong a colour for the first wash. Beth has a very pale complextion, with beautiful rose tint to her cheeks, and I got the thing a little too dark, which made her appear older in the painting (she is 3+). The likeness isn't great, and I think another try would see me drawing her a little smaller to get the lovely hat in and more of her arms, blouse and dress. The image you see here is A3, but as my scanner is A4, you are missing some of the surrounding detail.
This quick little sketch of a freesia sprig may look fairly ordinary but, look closer. The colours used here are made from the actual freesia blooms themselves. I ground down the yellow and purple parts of the flower head and pressed my brush into the pulp to get the colours. A leaf was used for the green, but wasn't really strong enough. The yellow on the other hand turned out quite strong. I have no idea though how long the colour will last!
image:Freesia sprig, painted with colour from the catual bloom.