Saturday, December 13, 2008

Think I'm, Got it!

With the reference photo I have, I believe I have
improved the painting from the original, and am
closer. I don't know if its my nature to not be
110% satisfied, or believing I could yet do better.

I remember John Singer Sargent summing up portraiture
as "A painting where something is wrong with the

Sargent was a master portraitist during the time of
the Impressionists and friends with many of them.
When he was at the top of his game and had become
financially independent from portraiture, he walked
away from it to paint landscapes and watercolors...

It was a challenge I think, and I believe I was
faithful to live up to the challenge, scraping and
repainting the face twice. The trick with painting
painterly, is you can smooth and blend your way into
a lot of detail and refined rendering with oils, but
where you aim to let a brushstroke suggest detail
there can be no frivolous meaningless brushstrokes.
Each one is critical to the believability of the

Here are some closeups to my rebuilding this face
from the scraped off board, and actually what is
interesting is that scraping leaves a stain of what
you originally painted, and becomes something like a
template to follow or adjust.

I begin working the right side, or Tim's left eye,
squinting my eyes and determining the plane of the
face receiving a higher key light, plus areas of the
midrange values, some darks for the eye...

Having established the right side, I have my levels and
target to work in the other eye-

All that is left is refining the perimeters of the face,
ear, hat...and repaint the sky behind to anchor everything
back into place..

As usual...clicking on images themselves brings up a much
larger nicer view to study..


Jo Castillo said...

I really enjoy seeing your WIP and learning as you go. Thank you for sharing.

Larry said...

thanks Jo...glad you found it of interest