21 February 2014

Fresh Commission...

Today, a fresh commission of 3-years-old Eli.  Kids this age cannot sit still, so getting usable images is a numbers game.  I shot 300 photos to get the reference I needed.  This painting is a composite of 3 shots.  His grandmother propped a doll on top of my head while I was shooting, to get him to look towards the camera. Whatever it takes.

In painting this portrait, I pushed the gradations in the background to create a sense of depth in the image and make the subject come forward.  After carefully painting it in, I used a mongoose fan brush to fuzz out the far background.

I also focused on turning form with temperature, most apparent in the white t-shirt.  I was guided and inspired by Ryan Mellody's recent article in the online magazine, Artists on Art (issue no.9). The article addressed color temperature in the half-tones, or what he calls the "last light".  A somewhat advanced technique which can electrify a painting, or muddle it if not handled well.   I haven't mastered halftone temperature, but knowing it's there is a good first step.

Here is the completed portrait, unframed...

Portrait of Eli at 3, 2014, 16x12", Oil on linen

And framed...


The progression for your interest....if you have questions on my process, leave a comment.  Each frame shows 3-5 hours of work.  You can see how the painting "sunk in" in the 5th frame.  To bring back the value range and luster, I oiled out with a mixture of 1 part linseed oil to 2 parts turp, as seen in the 6th frame.  A nice multi-purpose medium.  Almost eliminates the need to varnish.