This was another chance to do a charcoal portrait. I did this one at school where I had the opportunity to have a model sit for me for 3 hours. Sadly I didn’t have 3 hours as I was late! I gave myself the challenge of drawing from a donkey. This is a lower bench that you can sit on so that when drawing you can get very close up from underneath the model. This makes it quite a bit harder as the angle is very difficult. The usual way of mapping out a face completely changes here. The nose and eyes and mouth are much closer together and all the shapes change. Personally I really prefer portraits from this angle – there is something rather grand about the pose. It can be really hard to get this right. I wish I had another couple of hours on it. I love the mood of charcoal portraits.
This week has been a little difficult as Kea has been really unwell with a stomach bug. He has been off school all week poor thing feeling rotten. Luckily in-between looking after him I have had a chance to carrying on painting while he has watched films or slept.
I’ve been concentrating on a portrait I said I would do for someone. She is called Ruby. I had to do this portrait from a photo as I don’t actually know Ruby. I was given a selection of photos to do it from and the one I chose was this one.
I double checked with her mother if there were any of the photos she didn’t like so much or one that she preferred and she assured me that she liked all of them. I chose this particular pose because I felt out of all the photos this was where she looked the most natural. I got on with the job.
I finished most of it and decided to send a photo of what I had done so far to Ruby’s mother and sadly I got a response asking if I could paint the arm out. Sadly it isn’t quite as easy as ‘paint the arm out’ as this would totally change the lighting and shadows etc and it would mean making up half of her face which is never easy to do. I can understand what she means as I know she would like a clean portrait of her daughter, but then on the other hand I rather like the arm, giving it a much more relaxed feel. It is more unusual to have a portrait like this but I think it gives it something different, a contemporary felt . What do you think about it?
I can’t paint out the arm and will give her the painting tonight. I hear that Ruby likes it with the arm, I just hope her mother won’t be too disappointed.
For the last couple of weeks I have been painting a portrait of this women in blue. I thought that it might be a fun thing to show how the process works. It’s often fun to take photos along the way so you can see the all the mistakes you have made and the progression – hopefully!
It’s important to put a wash on your canvas/board first to knock the white away as it can be distracting. Then take your time to draw your portrait in a dark colour making sure you double check your proportions. Then find the shadow shapes and draw them and fill them in thinly. To get the likeness of someone concentrate on the 5 essential darks which are under the eyebrows, eyes, under the nose, top lip and under the bottom lip. Now add skin tone. Start painting in the colour that features the most which would be the middle tone. At this point avoid the shadow shapes as you have already blocked those in. As you go along its alway good to tweak the lines and shapes making sure that all the way along the process you are getting proportions right. Start to add in the highlights and make sure you leave all the details to the last sitting.