Tuesday, 5 May 2009

"Can't get it out of my head", 8" x 8", oil on linen canvas board, 2009

This is another transformation, by what the date on the sketch says, I must have sketched him in May last year. All I can remember about this guy is written all over his face. But I scribbled some notes at the bottom that read, "An amazing face, structure, weathered, lined..." that was enough to spur me into action. I love painting faces with character and mood and this was a delight.

Rather than list much steps as I have done before without a picture, this time I have decided to add a picture of my worktop which actually shows all the materials I have used and the set up. Remember, the sketch is the only reference, all I hang on to are my memory of skin colour, which is purely experimental and a love for the human face.

This transformation goes thus:

1. I load the picture sketch reference onto my computer screen

2. I sketch the face on to the linen canvasboard with a tombow marker (black)

3. I plan to work in Alla Prima method, so I make sure I have plenty of liquin oleopasto this helps thicken paint and fastens drying time.

4. Because I am painting at home and not at my studio, I make sure I don't clean my brushes with turps or minerals spirits because it would not be great, pollution wise, and because my home is not as well ventilated as my studio. All my cleaning of brushes came at the end, during the painting I just wiped the colour off the brushes with my rag.

5. I lay out my colours in an album box, which I have converted as a mini-pochade box to help while painting at home. It keeps the colours from being messy and I can close it when finished and its out of the way.

6. Painting proper starts with me blocking in all the middle tones, everything I felt was middle tone went down first. I use my filbert number 6 for that.

7. Then all the dark tones, where painted in, with my number 4 filbert and the lights with a sable round number 4.

8. Each time I pick some colour with my brush, I pick some liquin too.

9. I soften some edges around the neck area and other parts of his face where the transition from light to middle tone or middle tone to dark is soft.

10. Finally I work on his top, then turn the piece upside down to add some effects that have to do with the planned title.