Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Portrait of Tom in Progress

I have been working on this portrait of Tom for the past week (only one short sitting per day as he is very busy) and I have taken a few progress shots. It is quite illuminating for me to look back at where I have been. I am also much more aware of some of my working habits, both good and bad. The technique is totally "alla prima" painted from life. Each sitting was about 30-40 minutes. Oil on canvas.

I toned the canvas with Raw Umber a few days before and let it dry as I hate working on a wet surface. I never start on a white canvas as I like to have control of my lightest tones early on.

When I compare these first two images it is quite obvious that I tend to work "all over" . I am not sure if this is a good thing or not. I know there are so many differing ways of working. I can't fathom the method some artists have of totally completing an area before moving on to the next. I know Lucien Freud did this. Maybe I should try it sometime just as an exercise.

Getting a bit more 3D modelling into the face now. Going into the dark areas to identify colour, which is a bit exaggerated at this stage. Correcting the ear. Cool lights.

Indicating the shirt. Getting the modelling of the mouth angle a bit more accurate.

Warming up my shadows. As the spotlight is a cool light I am following the basic principle of cool lights and warm shadows but it is almost an unconscious thing now. Observation is the real guide.

Put more of a focus on the hint of "Rembrandt triangle" on the cheek on the left. Made the nostrils more accurate and firmed up the ear. More highlights on the hair. Also I have hinted at a small smile as I had made Tom look a bit grim. He did have trouble staying awake so I made a pot of tea.

Still not quite finished. Now that I can see it here on the screen there are several things screaming at me to be fixed. Amazing how seeing the image at a different scale smartens up your eye. 

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