Painting a Portrait

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A few months ago, during the painting of a commissioned portrait, the model’s wife took a lot of photos of the work in progress. She gave me permission to show some here.

A few points on painting a portrait:

  1. It must be a good likeness (with, on occasion, a minor adjustment or two), which is just a matter of hard work.
  2. The pose and look must be in character. This is more difficult, as there is often a limited amount of time to get to know the model and decide on a pose. In this matter, the model can often be a great help.
  3. The job must be done as quickly as possible. Time is precious for the model and fast progress is appreciated.
  4. The model must not become bored. If the model’s eyes start to glaze over this will show in the portrait. It is a good idea to keep up a conversation and perhaps explain the painting process to alleviate the dullness of the sittings. I find frequent breaks are a welcome relief for the model and myself.

The photograph above shows me painting the portrait in the model’s living room -as the light hit the face from all sides it made painting more difficult, but it was softer and more flattering. My model is very much a Rock of Gibraltar sort of chap and I tried to make this apparent in the pose. His very light blue grey eyes were also a great feature and I felt it essential to get the colour just right.

The next photos show the progress during the first sitting (just over three hours).

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