There are so many layers in the art world. The formal portrait is one of them. I meet many artists who, for various reasons, prefer not to go there. Regardless of the naysayers I have always been intrigued by the historical use of formal portraits as well as the challenge to paint them. As Aristotle stated," The aim of Art is to present not the outward appearance of things, but their inner significance; for this, not the external manner and detail, constitutes true reality." (I wish I could have been the first person to say that.)
One of my most recent goals was to add two formal business/corporate portraits to my portfolio. This is my second one.
Stage 1: Painting in the image. After tinting the canvas with a thinned mixture of Transparent Oxide Red and Ultramarine Blue, I used that same mixture to lightly paint in Conor's likeness freehand.
|Detail of the face.|
|Stage 2: Painting the face. I begin this stage the same way I would if I were painting from life instead of using a reference photo: lightly brushing in the shape of the head with a thin layer of paint as I familiarize myself with the features.|
|Stage 3: The eyes. The eyes tell the story. In this first attempt I aim for accuracy in shape, color and light.|
|Stage 4: Blocking in the face. As I apply this layer of paint I pay attention to the planes of the face as I develop the likeness through light, contrast and shadow.|
Stage 5: Blending the colors. Once the paint is on the canvas I move the it around with my brush, pulling colors and values into each other so that they transition well.
|Stage 6: Completing the first layer (underpainting). This is my last step -- blocking in the remaining shapes and colors of his face before I can complete it.|
|Stage 7: Completing the face. I applied thicker paint for the second layer and then blended the colors and values together so that they transitioned well from light to dark and warm to cool colors.|
|Stage 8: Blocking in the tie and shirt.|
|Stage 9: Completing the shirt and tie. The intricate design on this silk tie almost intimidated me. I decided to squint my eyes and paint my impression of it.|