After watching a couple more of Stan Miller’s videos on painting portraits, I felt emboldened to have a go from a photo. I browsed our family pictures, and found one of my husband which was shot in dawn light, and so had good contrast on the face.
It turned out that I changed a lot of the process in this portrait, when compared to my usual approach. I don’t normally work from photos, but I have to say that this simplified matters enormously. Not having to translate 3D to 2D is a massive advantage, and then the benefit of the subject being still can’t be underestimated!
I also decided to restrict my colour use and employ Stan’s three-colour technique for this one, having loved the results he achieved. However, he didn’t give the names of the three primary colours he used, so I had to guess (and then take what I had available). A while ago I was given an assorted box of tube paints, which I don’t normally use, as I find pans more convenient and less wasteful when I’m out and about sketching. The tubes turned out to be really instrumental in helping me get the depth of colour I needed. I chose French Ultramarine, Cad Yellow Light and Permanent Rose. I’d actually have liked a less pink red, but not to worry.
I dug out a half-inch flat brush in addition to my No.6 round, which I normally use for everything. The flat brush gave some really nice sweeping lines, and helped me with lifting out in the odd area ( e.g. the goatee beard with ‘senior highlights’).
It felt a bit intimidating using such bright and bold colours, but once I got over the shock, I really enjoyed the process. I didn’t feel that the French Ultramarine was dark enough for the background blue, so I used some Winsor Blue with the Permanent Rose instead, which I think worked ok. In retrospect I think I should have used a brown or orange over the right shoulder instead of the pink, but I’m not going to worry too much about that. I also think that there should have been more light areas on the left side of his face, but once again, I’ll bear than in mind for another time. My favourite area is the hat!
You know, I feel quite a sense of achievement with this portrait. I hope that my husband will like it, because I really think it’s a decent likeness…