|Drew in Blue 14x11", Oil on linen|
I started with a preliminary oil sketch to plan colors, values and composition. Very helpful. I lived with it for a few days to be sure I would like the resulting portrait.
|Oil study for "Drew in Blue", 8x6" on linen board|
Below is a 6-step progression for the painting. Click to enlarge. I followed a procedure described previously here and here. The basis of the fleshtones is transparent red oxide, which makes a nice warm pink when lightened with titanium white.
My first mistake...using 2 reference photos, one for the body and another for the head. Not a good idea. I had to invent the neck which required a lot of adjusting. Always start with good reference photos.
Next, I let the values drift during painting. I started by premixing pools of paint for the light side, the core shadow and halftone area of the right cheek. That was good, saved some time. However, as I proceeded the values shifted. After 30 hours, I had to go back in and re-paint everything but the light side. Wasted time. Keep a close watch for value shifts, especially towards the dark end of the scale.
Finally, the body perspective was wrong. I thought I was done, but then got a few viewer comments that the body looked "off". I agreed, but I couldn't see the problem until I laid a tracing of the photo over the painting. Overall Drew's body was the right width, but the perspective turned it too much towards the viewer. Not enough foreshortening. I repainted the body, with more overlap between the arm/torso/arm, which made the body and head appear proportional. That was hard to see.
|Adjustment to the perspective of the body...before (left) and after (right)|
Frame it and call it done...
Regarding artistic inspiration...
My inspiration while working on Drew was a painting I saw at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC a few months ago by the 16th century Italian portraitist, Giovanni Battista Moroni (Portrait of Bartolommeo Bonghi, below). I was struck by how skillfully Moroni modeled form in this piece, and how fresh and familiar his style appeared to my 21st century eyes. Incredible drawing skills. Below are a few examples of his beautiful work. Click for more images of his paintings.
|Portrait of Bartolommeo Bonghi, painted around 1553|
|Portrait of Don Gabriel de la Cueva, 1560|
|The Tailor, 1570|
Prospero Alessandri, 1560|
Thank you for reading this far...Best, Candace.