Monthly Archives: November 2010

In the Particular

Own Time

This is the next experimental portrait that I did of Fiona. The point was to build the picture based off marks initially made all over the canvas, with large square brushes. Ultimately, bringing it all together with hogs hair rounds, linking up the various passages and integrating the image, as well as building up the paint more thickly. This process seems to be giving good results for me, at least so far. In my mind this is the best picture that I have done and more importantly it is the first one of Fiona that she likes. Every time I threaten to do some more to it she rushes to stop me.

I am really liking the combined palette of traditional earth colours, alongside passages and mixes using a combination of Viridian and Alizarin. For those that follow my interest in only using non toxic paint. The form of Chromium used in Viridian and Chromium Oxide green is the stable and believed to be non toxic Chromium III (it is used naturally in the body), rather than the highly toxic Chromium VI.

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Andrew James Portraits 2

Building up the Portrait

My second portrait of the project was quicker and smaller, but leant even more on working all over the picture and bringing it together in the end with a few small changes.  Due to the short time, I was not able to work in as many layers as I did in the previous picture, but was helped by the benefit of a face of great particularity.

In both these pictures I have used considerable emphasis on the contrast of warm and cool colours and their natural vibrancy, ultimately allowing me to get that vibrancy with cleaner individual marks than I have used in the past.  Looking forward I think that I should tone down the saturation of the marks made with nearly pure colour, as these stand out too much and lead to a sense of more fragmentation.

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Andrew James Portraits 1

Large head portraits

Andrew James Vice President of the Royals Society of Portrait Painters, was teaching our last assignment.  You can see his work at: www.andrewjamesartist.co.uk

He is one of the leading portrait painters in the UK and largely self taught.  I would characterise his work as linked to contemporary life, with strong design and love of paint, the act of painting and colour.

 

The focus was primarily on close in head portraits and the main teaching points for me were:  Building up a density of paint and marks, focusing on what is particular/unique,  balancing harness and softness (as important as balancing tone and temperature),  making a clear decision when two things are in conflict, balancing fragmentation with a whole picture unity and routes through the picture.

 

The first picture was a large 40X30 inch head portrait of Alona.  I changed my working practise in this in two ways, 1) doing more marks all across the portrait, rather than from the centre out, and 2) working many more layers, allowing for more adjustment and pigment density.

 

In the end I primarily liked using colour temperature to create contrast and emphasis.  The background was a much more positive support to the painting as a whole as well as the key colours in the head.  The new challenge for me that I liked was creating spaces and routes through the picture to bring it all together.

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Mr Heatherley Results

Sarah Moon Wins

Against strong competition, Sarah Moon won the Mr Heatherley competition with her portrait of Michael Heusch and Veronique Foulon in their flat in Soho.

You can see more of her work at her website:

www.sarahjanemoon.com.

There are three things that I really like about this picture, which all relate to my definition of great art “ a visual engagement with the profound “:

Sarah has carefully incorporated and managed the background images and content to produce an interesting abstract pattern that does not distract from the main subject, adds to the picture overall and has a range of meaningful content in the context of the two particular individuals.

The painting captures an intense relationship between the two subjects in an engaging and inviting way. A way that will keep you coming back to understand the meaning in the context of these two people as well as broader issues in the human condition.

Sarah’s simplified drawing and mark making is engaging and strong, in such a way that people will always want to revisit the image.
In the end I primarily liked using colour temperature to create contrast and emphasis.  The background was a much more positive support to the painting as a whole as well as the key colours in the head.  The new challenge for me that I liked was creating spaces and routes through the picture to bring it all together.

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