Thursday, 6 May 2010

The Unwilling Sitter

I am posting a small portrait I started out as a demo for the Fulham Society Of Artists and Potters workshop.
Having helped with an art assignment from school, I earned a certain number of airmiles from a family member, who agreed to sit for me just the time to take a couple of photos of him. The workshop was based on the problems artists encounter when working from photos.
I was painting on a small board ( 20x27 cm) primed with a product from Sennelier called Case Alba. I had bought a pack by chance some time ago and I find it a very good ground for painting. It is a very absorbent, off white surface, which sucks in the oil and allows fast drying. Although it can be sanded, it has a granular surface that gives a good resistance to the brush.  My painting "Geneva" is done on board primed with it.

This is how I started the painting:

I was trying to convey the use of greys and low chroma colours to represent flesh.  The paint application is in my usual style, with flat separate areas. I stuck to the cool lights, warm shadows rule.

One has to learn how to ignore the colours of the photo reference, which are often just tonal variation of orange.
I normally work from black and white photographs as this allows me more freedom with mixtures.

I think this photo was taken about half way through the demo but I didn't manage to do much more since I did a lot of talking and mixing.

Once home I decided to go on with the painting and worked a couple of more hours in fading light.

This is the result:

The drawing is not particularly accurate but there is a certain likeness, although he looks much younger than in real life.
The grey I have used in the background is a colour that keeps coming back into my paintings recently.  It is a colour I see in the sky here in winter time: in the afternoon a grey and dark cloud toward the west, and the last rays of a sunshine that shone somewhere else that day.

I wasn't particularly interested in carrying forward this painting but it was there in my studio and I just had to rework it, at least to get the right age ! Normally I have the opposite problem when I am painting young people: because I look for the form of their features they loose a bit of roundness and look older.
Anyway I worked on this portrait for a few days at a relaxed rhythm. This now looks finished but is still there in my studio....

I have added a little video to my website just for fun.


SKIZO said...


Ilaria said...

Obrigado Skizo !