Wednesday, 15 February 2017

For The Love Of Portraiture

This is my first post for 2017, and I've started the year working (mostly) on portraits. I seem to have an endless passion and fascination in painting people. Whether it's just a head, head and shoulders, full figure or even groups of people, it gives me such a buzz working it all out.
Like many artists, I never quite get everything right; OK, I think I'm improving, but there is so much to think about and so so much that can go wrong. From the contours of the face to the shape of the lips, the distance between the eyes and if the eyes are looking in the right direction, the placement of the nose etc, it all needs careful attention and observation.

Then there's the tonal qualities to think about and mixing the exact colour for all the different skin tones. All this has to be spot on in portraiture if we are going to get a good likeness.

With the oil painting of "Lina", I'd drawn it on the board and applied the acrylic ground (yellow ochre and burnt sienna mixed) in one evening. The following morning, I started to paint with oils and it was completed in 3-4 hours - sort of alla prima style. This was unusually fast for me. I'd been reading about how the Old Masters painted and the earthy colours that they used (often using pigments that they produced themselves) and tried to apply some of their techniques to this work with some success I think.

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