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Thursday, 5 July 2007

Finished Portrait ( Ari )

The completed picture of our dog, Ari. I'm pleased with this portrait, all it needs now is a mount and frame to set it off , then it's taking pride of place on our livingroom wall .

My Portrait Process

I have read many books and magazines describing the process used to achieve a great painting, but at the end of the day it's what works for you.....
So what does work for me?
Above is a pastel portrait that I started a couple of days ago. First in the process was to transfer the picture onto my computer, I cropped, lightened & increased the contrast, then printed the image the size I wanted, sometimes this could mean splitting the image over two or three pages. When I'm happy with the results I use tracing paper to trace a basic outline of the image using a B grade graphite pencil. Then on the reverse side using either a white or brown pastel pencil I draw the image again following carefully the lines on the other side, the tracing is then taped onto the surface chosen for the finnished portrait, pastel side down, I carefully draw the image again this time using a harder graphite pencil H or H2 this will leave a light copy on the chosen surface. ( I find this method allows me to move the image around my paper trying different compositions. )
Is this cheating?....Not at all, even the great masters had their own ways of acheiving great paintings.
Jan Vermeer 1632 - 1675 who painted some lovely portraits including Girl with the Pearl Earing is reputed to have used a Camera Obscura to help in the process.

Where I work

This is where I try and create my pictures, light, airy and warm when the sun is out

Monday, 2 July 2007

Girl in a Hat (demo)

I was asked by a friend, the other day, if I could tell him where he could purchase a projector specifically for enlarging pictures onto canvas / paper or what ever medium for painting. This is what prompted me to start writing about my own methods, also being prompted by my son (see One Man's Travel Blog). Well I have tried one of these projectors. But found that either the method used to create Ari, or the grid method above Girl in a Hat, work just as well. Try not to get bogged down with detail, it gets confusing, keep it simple at this stage, adding the detail if you want as you progress through the painting. The grid above is 7"x7" this could be 3"x3" or 20"x20" you chose, just keep the proportions the same.
You could, of course, transfer the picture as a rough sketch first using the grid method refine the lines, also if you’re not sure about the composition or the picture, check it in a mirror this works for me. Then transfer the refined sketch onto you chosen medium.
Don’t forget these lines are only a skeleton to build upon NOT the finished piece.