Sunday 15 November 2015

Jamie's Portrait

Jamie asked me to paint her husband and her self. She emailed me a nice reference of them sitting outside by a arbor. I gave a few options, oils, acrylics, canvas board or Masonite, stretched canvas or even paper and we decided on canvas board and acrylics, mostly shipping costs but also ease of shipping was a factor.

I sketched the painting out directly on the canvas using a standard HB pencil. This works well for me because I am confident enough that I wont smudge everything, but with a decent eraser you can clean that up.

 After I sketched it all out, I sealed the drawing with hairspray, ones that was dry I applied a layer of clear Gesso. This knocks back the drawing to a fainter grey and adds a nice tooth.

I started oit with the most left eye, I am right handed and so no chance of me smearing the paint as I was working on it. Working in acrylics I mix small batches and work on small areas, this lets me to still work wet in wet and blend everything smooth. I use a mix of heavy body acrylics and liquid craft paints.

Adding the dark tones will help you define shapes better and will give a over all look of how it looks faster, I like to add them almost right away, yes you will have to define them a few times as they get covered but its a small price.

Working my way down, I used small strokes to define the mustache and beard, he has a salt and pepper beard so I used a combination of dark brown, grey, dark skin tones and white to build it up. Look for shapes of colors and match those rather then doing it hair by hair.

Ones certain areas are dry I will go back in and define them, either with a wash (thinned down paint) or with a lighter color to blend it all smoothly. Personally I do not like to see brushstrokes so building up layers is important.

 Moving left to right I wok on Jamie's the same as I did her husbands, add the dark of the eyes, then work outwards, I added the black between them to shape the face and having a darker color next to the skin tone helps to judge tones better. A lot of artists say not to use black, or at least to mix it (brown,red and blue) but I prefer to use it pre-mixed, it safes time and with acrylic you can glaze over it to knock back the tone if needed.

 Ones I had her face roughed in, at this point I am still roughing everything in, letting it dry thoroughly before going back, I moves to the left corner again and added the bricks, and his hat in a few base tones I like to get as close as I can but  I do know that I can always correct it. This makes mixing paints a bit easier.

The shirt was a challenge, I had not yet painted Hawaii type of shirt, so I started with adding the blue spots adding a cream color around them, the shirt was not white, then light brown areas. As soon as it was time to add the white striped I was not sure as how to do it. What I ended up doing was using my painting knife to make straight thin lines. This seemed to work well, using a detail brush I cleaned that up where needed.

I roughed everything in, at this point all the canvas is been covered, I do like to keep this as smooth as I can, but there is plenty of time to fix mistakes like wrong tones, define shadow shapes and so on.The bricks were done with a black undercoat, then grey and then blue and last white stippled on it with a old brush.

With washes I corrected the skin tone some, this works best when you add a darker tone, going lighter you scumble, its like a dry brush technique. Work with very little paint and gently brush that on to lighten areas. These are oil painting techniques but they work for acrylics to. For washes I thin the paint down with water, I do not use any mediums.

After all the washes are dry and correct it is time to sit down and do the details, for me this is the most enjoyable this is were the painting comes alive. Adding highlights with white makes the face more round and the beard more full.

                                                                Finished painting

Ones its all done I varnish it always varnish a acrylic painting, it brings the depth out from the paints and make it easier to clean afterwards.