Portrait: Andy


09.30 – 12.30 One Session

Andy is our sitter for today, his first time in the “chair”.  Andy is a carver of wood and some types of stone, he works purely in the moment with no pre-sketching or planning – I on the other hand, did my thumbnail as usual!

Today, I decided to recycle a used canvas, painting over an acrylic painting of three buskers in Gaudi Park, Barcelona.  This was quite an impasto (not to mention quite bad) painting that provided a lot of texture on the surface.  After a particularly heavy colour mixing/theory session, I decided to use the left over acrylic paint on my palette, predominantly red and green.  This gave quite a dramatic backdrop to my portrait study.

Initially I was really pleased with the result, it had drama and a wow factor but sadly little likeness. Andy had a very expressive face which often looked like he was about to burst into a big grin, he also kept his mouth slightly open for stretches of time during the pose. I tried to capture this, although I know teeth can be a tricky option, it did however, give more of a likeness.  After the previous week, I did try to paint from a distance with long-handled brushes and stood back often to judge progress. This was working well up to tea break – however, resuming work was when it went wrong and right! Trying to achieve the likeness, I tightened up and stepped back less but the real killer was the clothing. I really don’t like the colours on the shirt, Andy was wearing a patterned shirt with a white background and a blue and crimson design, which I tried to hint at but it all became too purple. I over blocked in the jacket, which although the right shade for the tweed cloth, was less effective than the initial loose, dripping effect from the shoulders that was there at break time.

Things that were unfinished:

  • The form of the head on the left is too weak

    Andy Oil on re-used box canvas 16 x 20"

    Oil on re-used box canvas
    16 x 20″

  • The hair needs more tonal contrast even though it was very short
  • The eyes are a little uneven – Andy was not boss-eyed!

Things overworked:

  • I feel the eyes are too defined
  • The tones between left (dark side) and right (light side) have become too similar
  • The shirt is far too bright and distracting
  • Everything below the shoulders worked better before the break

Things I like:

  • The original ground
  • The effect of light coming through the ear
  • The expression

Having said all that Andy himself, did like the painting – not to be sneezed at!

One thought on “Portrait: Andy

  1. Your very hard on yourself! You pulled off an entire portrait and your only part way into the course. It’s very strong at to me, your progressing fast!


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