Portrait Sketch – Girl in a Pink Hat

Girl in a Pink Hat (Graphite Sketch)

Girl in a Pink Hat (Graphite Sketch)

It’s an ambition of mine to sketch and paint portraits… and to do it well enough to capture a good likeness so they’re recognisable. It’s strange though – I can never bring myself to actually do them. I don’t know why, but I seem to always find an excuse to do something else like another animal or flower.

This is starting to come more to my attention though, both the urge to do it and the recognition that I’m avoiding it, so hopefully that’s the first stage in overcoming it 🙂 … and I just have to face the fact that it’s going to be a bit painful for a while, until I’ve practised a lot more.

So today I chose a picture from the huge selection on PaintmyPhoto titled Pink Hat 2 by Rachael Curry. She’s a very pretty girl in an interesting pose but not someone I know, which I believe helps when you’re a beginner – you don’t get lulled into thinking you know how their features fit together.

It was great fun and mostly went OK, although it doesn’t completely look like her. I think I made the common mistake of making her nose too long and the space above her top lip – the philtrum? – is too long as well. So her face looks a bit squished!

Best Dress & Party Balloons, Pt. 3

Best Dress & Party Balloons (Watercolour)

Best Dress & Party Balloons (Watercolour)

 
It’s been another busy work day but I found an hour towards the end (while there was still enough light) to add a little bit more to my painting of Rhona, Jim’s niece. I was finally brave enough to paint the wriggly strokes to create her hair and it’s made such a difference! I’m very pleased that it looks shiny and you can even imagine those brush strokes are ringlets – if you get close enough you can tell, they’re not really 😛

I also improved some of the flesh tones in her arms, giving them more life, and also her ankles. Which I now think need to go a just bit darker because they’re in shade under her skirts. But, I’m possibly just fussing at this stage.

And the smallest brush to suggest the petals of the roses in her hair… and that might be a good time to stop.

Best Dress & Party Balloons, Pt. 2

Best Dress & Party Balloons (Watercolour)

Best Dress & Party Balloons (Watercolour)

 

I think I’m on a roll! I’ve managed to paint almost every day this week and it feels wonderful 🙂

Yesterday I only had half an hour free so I played around with the background a bit more and smoothed out some of the more noticeable brush strokes, but today has been much more leisurely. I spent some time on the balloons and I’ve also been trying to pick out the folds in the fabric, which is a very shear gauze on with the satin petticoat showing through from underneath. It’s worked much better than I hoped so now I have to come up with a plan for the bodice – which is complicated crochet in a shiny thread!

As usual with figures and portraits I’m studiously avoiding the hair and face, so I’ll probably tackle the arms next, and maybe shoes… and then the hair will have to be attempted. As the face is slightly turned away and fairly small I’m hoping I can get away without doing anything much, especially once the hair goes in and frames it. At the moment that big expanse of pale paper is very noticeable.

This is lots of fun!

 

Ponderings on Portraits, Scent of a Rose

Scent of a Rose (Graphite)

Scent of a Rose (Graphite)

I was chatting with my very good friend and artist, Moira, today about visiting the Archibald Prize Exhibition and it set me thinking – by the way, the Archibald is a well known prize for portraits of famous or talented people (‘distinguished in art, letters, science or politics’) held annually in Sydney.

Now, I would love to be able to paint portraits… recognisable, emotional, artistic portraits, actually I’ll settle for recognisable as a start… and I’m really looking forward to visiting the exhibition to see how the professionals do it. That being the case, and in view of my aim to practise often and follow my passion, my thoughts focused on wondering why I never (or rarely) try a portrait? How can I be so fascinated by them and yet constantly shy away from practising them so I might improve? Beats me!

So tonight when I got home from Wollongong (gallery sitting) I searched out a photo from you know where (paintmyphoto) and spent an hour doing just that. I used a harder graphite than I normally would (2B) which gave me much greater control and allowed me to get lighter shading. Apart from slightly misaligned eyes and the bit where I lost patience towards the end with her hand I’m very pleased with it 🙂 .

Surf, Fiddles & Final Touches

An Unexpected Wave (Watercolour)

An Unexpected Wave (Watercolour)

Another hour of touching up… I had planned to start something new today but this wave keeps drawing me back to try and finish it. The changes today are hardly obvious, but necessary – the boy has had a touch more shading around the face and more colour to his hair. There’s a little bit more shading in the curling of the waves….

Mum also pointed out that there were white areas of spray near his face and shoulders that were causing his outline to be confused with the sea, so I’ve made a better job of that and added some sea blue to preserve his profile.

Today’s pic was unfortunately taken with a flash – I left it too late! So it’s a bit harsher in colour than the original, but it gives a fair idea anyway of what’s changed today. And, I really must find something new for tomorrow!