Monday, 23 May 2011

That Special Painting......

Each piece of work has something that inspires you to paint it in the first place, a meaning, a message, colour, light, something that draws you in. ...but occasional there is one that has that something with more meaning, one that holds something special, one that you just know you just have to paint. As soon as I saw this photo I knew this was one of those..... 


Jeanette was the younger sister of someone very close to me, a sister he never really knew, as she was sadly taken from the family so suddenly, and at such a young age. This is an old family photo that his older sister had, a sister that did get to be with Jeanette, but only for a short time, and is the older girl in the photo, on the right.

Capturing the soul of a person is probably the biggest aim when painting a portrait, and doubling this up is quite a challenge, but a pleasurable and meaningful one. And although there is a slight tension to get this right, it's still one of a real passion of capturing this special moment as a gift for special people....

I started as I normally do with various pencil sketches to become familiar with the girls faces. I always have some sort of sketching paper on my board, and will doodle and sketch features or parts of the portraits in every spare 5 mins I have. This really brings me closer to my subjects and while doing this I'm also thinking about the composition. most of the time this does seem to come together on it's own, as if each subject knows how to sit on the paper.

The first sketch is always a quick one, no fussing, and not to much correcting. Step back and look and you will see exactly where you need to change it if any...There are a few things I need to get right before I go on to the painting which is why these initial sketches are invaluable.



Along with obvious things such as proportions that need altering, Jeanette was the youngest and I've drawn her face too large to sit next to her older sister... I also drew this one with her mouth closed, this doesn't work for me. When you see the person often, you see them with different  expression in many different poses, but as this is one of very few photographs, especially at his age, the image here is one that is remembered more distinctly than would otherwise be, so needs to be as is, or very close. . . 

I decided straight away that I wanted to go with just the head shots. Moving the heads close together so they connect better. I was aiming for the hair to flow together, maybe the ribbons too, this is something I find comes together when painting, where letting the watercolour work along with you, often leading the way.....

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