14 February 2010

Portrait of My Valentine


I was determined to get this posted today, a charcoal and chalk portrait of my husband. He asked for one after I did the recent portrait of my daughter, using the same materials and methods. The second image is a graphite portrait I drew of him last year. One of those year-to-year comparisons, always fun to see.

A few comments on today's piece.
  • Even though the lighted side of the face draws the eye, my focus was the reflected light on the dark side, inspired by a Zorn painting.
  • The hand (taken from a second photo) was enlarged slightly to make it seem closer and advance out from the picture plane.
  • The symmetry of the facial features is essential to the believability of a portrait, so I always go through and make sure all features are properly aligned. I tend to place the eyes to far apart, so I always check that the outer corner of each eye falls on a line made by connecting the middle of the upper lip to the outer edge of the nose. A good trick, it helps me every time.
  • I had to re-draw Tim's right eye 3 times, the last time it practically drew itself. The redrawing reminded me of how the Impressionists would scrape down paintings at the end of a session and re-paint the identical image again the next day on the same canvas. Sargent and Whistler did it all the time. I can understand how this procedure would fine-tune the rendering, and leave some interesting values/colors on the canvas. I plan to give it a try.