Friday, April 6, 2012

Portrait of S. Smith

Portrait of S. Smith

My friend Steve Smith was kind enough to sit for this portrait last year. This painting was done entirely from life. On the first day, Steve sat and we chatted and I began roughing in the composition, deciding where to place the head and hands, making sure to get his gesture and began blocking-in the color shapes. This gave me the beginning of the underpainting and I could sense how it was all going to work. The second session I continued the block in of color shapes and began some development in the face and hands. This now was a solid underpainting that I could refer to as I worked on smaller areas. The next three sessions I worked on developing and finishing the face. I usually break it up into sections, such as the eyes and brow one day and the nose and beard the next, and work each section wet into wet. After the head was done from life I began working on the hands. Each hand took me the better part of a day, or about 6 hours each. Once the head and hands were done Steve's job was pretty much done also. I borrowed his clothes and put them on a dummy to work on while he was not there. Of course the dummy did not have the same gesture as Steve, so it was important that I tried to stay true to the gesture of the under painting while working from the dummy. Painting the clothing is much like painting a still life and having the clothing available to paint from life was much more preferable to working from photos as you can see the color, etc. a lot better.
This is my first large commissioned portrait. I hope to do more.....