Friday, 11 January 2008

First Stages of Elena's Portrait

Well, two requests is enough for me! Plus I think this will be quite an interesting thing to do for me too, to have a record of the growth of a painting. The above is the first stage, where I have made a grid on tracing paper that fits over the photo and drawn a corresponding grid on the canvas. I then draw in the relevant details, using the grid to guide me. It's rather like those draw-the-other-half activities in childrens comics! If this painting was just for myself, I would draw freehand, but as it is a commission and it is important to get it just right, this is the technique I use for placement of features etc.
This is the scary stage that I really don't like people seeing as they usually make stupid comments about it not looking right! I have laid down a thin olive green wash over the entire canvas. This acts as a base colour to pull the whole painting together and also it acts as a coolant for all the reds in the painting - and there will be a lot in here with the flesh tones, pink t-shirt and the colour of the horse. I have also started to block in a very basic background and the t-shirt.
The above is the blocking in stage finished - this just means I lay down roughly the colours I will be using and get some of the tones in. It is very daunting to be faced with a white canvas and blocking in gives an overall idea of where to go and what to do first. It also points out any glaring errors which can be corrected before they get made permanent!

All of the above has taken a total of about four hours over the past few days - while I am working at the day job I have to grab painting time where I can. Tomorrow I will start painting in more detail - with portraits I always start with the eyes as this is the most important part of the whole picture. If these go wrong, there is no point in carrying on! I can't decide yet whether I want to start with the horse or Elena - we'll see how I feel tomorrow.

I have got over my confidence crisis - it happens quite often, and I am sure other artists have the same thing happen - nobody can be 100% confident of their ability when it comes to art - the unsurety of it makes you work harder to achieve the desired results!

In the meantime, I have been asked if I would like a stall at a local 'Dog Day' in May to tout my paintings etc. - think I'd better make some more knitted/felt dogs as well. I have also been invited to join Ravelry (those of you who knit and crochet will know what I'm on about) which is very exciting. It's a bit like being accepted into a woolly Freemasons........wonder if there is a secret handshake.....


natural attrill said...

Looking good Caroline. I clicked on the pics to enlarge, I really like the background how it is already, the loosness and the brush strokes and mixes of colour.Its really interesting to see the stages, looking forward to more.

Bronwen said...

wow wow wow. I love your work and it is fascinating for me to see how you begin!

Anonymous said...

oh I hear you. If your anything like me your also your worst critic.
You know I forgot all about gridding. THat is a great idea for a commision peice.
I love the pup too.