I was asked to paint the portrait of a lady, who loves reading, as a birthday present. As she is someone I`ve never met good photos are very important. Fortunately one image had some decent lighting on it. The other was flat and featureless. One issue is that the lady had changed hair styles between photos and I subsequently found out she had lost some weight. All making life interesting.
We are getting there, but slowly, as other members of the family are viewing the image and adding their imput.
I initially had a notion of this painting from a side view incorporating the steam from the soup against a dark background. Looking for suitable images to use I came across one of my dad, but a frontal view. Unfortunately he was wearing a hat and had no shirt which was a step too far for me, so I changed that, and added a book.
The real problem came in filling the 50x65cm sheet. I rescoped the head a couple of times, to try to ensure that sheet was filled, but despite all this I only managed 2/3 of the paper and with all the chopping and changing I lost the likeness – well, it’s a bit like him, but I’ve done better – perhaps a candidate for another attempt.
Compared to that the reworking of the Cambodian woman (an image I posted a couple of weeks ago as a smaller sketch) came out so much easier on this larger format – perhaps there was more to squeeze in so I was struggling to include rather than fill it out.
I might do a bit of tweaking to this yet, but in the main I am happy with it. Perhaps this larger format allows more detail and nuance giving it, for me, more authority.
As well as attending life sessions I have joined a portrait group, so here are a few of my recent paintings all done on a grey undercoat in a similar style, mainly using just three colours, alizaren red, raw sienna and ultramarine blue as well as white of course.
I managed to get the feet in on this one, which for a standing pose, for me is a minor miracle.
Below are the portraits. The first one was a bit over ambitious, trying to maximise the head on the paper and with flat lighting. I have managed to convince the guy who runs the session that he can get more sympathetic lighting on the subject. Hopefully that will show up in the ensuing weeks.
Last night’s session was a bit better, less ambitious in size