MORE PORTRAITURE and lessons in Portrait Painting!

     I have mentioned in the past that I am studying portraiture and have taken the Bargue course in accurate drawing. It has certainly paid off for me!

    I just finished a portrait of a close friend with her pet duck.  That may sound odd, but when I add that this duck was her ambassador to young children, it adds a new dimension. 

    I say "was" because the duck "Duddles" recently passed away from Avian flu.  It was very sad because Duddles was loved by everyone who ever had the opportunity to meet her. She was very personable and friendly!  She loved to sit on mama's shoulder and groom her hair or just be held in her arms and petted. 

    One of my favorite stories of Duddles is this: when the pandemic started a large group of friends started making masks. (they were not readily available commercially at the time)  Duddles had her own pink mask complete with painted lips that I made for her. She was willing to wear this mask for photo opportunities and made quite a splash needless to say!

                              Duddles sporting her mask

    We had done a quick and fun portrait of Duddles in the art class I teach which I then gave to her mama. Of course they loved it, but it was time to do something more serious. 

                                Class painting of Duddles

    Duddles' passing was hard on us all, but especially for her mama. So, I decided to do their portrait and it is my first "official" portrait since starting this course.  The difference in the quality of my portraiture is amazing!  I am so appreciative of the instruction I am receiving and I will stay with it for as long as possible.  

    I will go into more detail on my classes on another blog, but for now I want to show you this portrait.  I had a time constraint as these friends are moving away soon so I had to skip the "grisaille" stage (monotone to establish values) and go directly to applying color.  This is done in oils, so each stage must dry before proceeding to the next.  

         First, let me say that I had to work from a poor snapshot taken on a Zoom meeting. Thankfully I found a couple of head shots of my friend in my stash that were of decent quality.

    An interesting point I learned in class is that we should ALWAYS paint the client younger than they are.  The only exception to that rule is when they are really old and those lines and creases in their face are what make the portrait unique!  Now that doesn't mean we slice many years off their looks, but we are kind in that we don't put in double chins, deep wrinkles, etc when portraying middle aged or younger.  In other words, we soften the facial features to compliment them. 

    I decided on a 16 x 20 size portrait as I had the canvas and a nice frame already in that size.  That is usually the smallest size suggested for a portrait, by the way. They can however go quite large!

    The photos are below and I hope you enjoy them.  I really appreciate your support of my blog!

      1.  I sketched her on the canvas using a grid for accuracy

2. I skipped the "grisaille" stage to save time and went straight to applying color.

  3. This is the first layer of color applied. You can see that I darkened the background. I like it much better.  The two photos on left are part of my reference material. The top is the poor head shot from Zoom and the bottom is my daughter posing so I could get the correct arm/hand positioning.  I had other photos behind these that were better much quality for an accurate portrayal of her face. 

4. I have the second layer of paint on here and her face is pretty much complete.  Now I'm working on her hands and the duck.

                               LIZ AND DUDDLES 



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