For this exercise I started with some initial sketches using graphite pencils on A4 paper:
I then decided to draw another version of the middle pose, looking further to the left of canvas, with the main light source coming from upper right:
Thinking about colour, tone and highlights I drafted out a portrait format oil pastel sketch:
Next task was to lightly mark in this pose with light pencil on a mounted cut A3 280gsm canvas block sheet, this time in landscape format:
I was happier with the look of this and decided to keep going with the oil pastels to work up this self-portrait study:
I managed to complete this study in one day, taking time to stand back and reflect, and working on different elements at the same time to attempt to arrive at a picture that hangs together visually.
I believe that this is my best attempt yet at a portrait and figure painting. This is me, beardless at 60, shaving daily, with hair ever growing silvery-grey. I have a few facial bumps and scrapes from a life lived full. I recognise myself here. And my wife now sees me in a new light – not so rough round the daily edges!
As always, I found the eyes, nose and mouth the hardest challenge here, but I think I cracked it – less is more! By this I mean, less hard/dark lines and better use of tonal colour blending.
I used Sennelier artist oil pastels and a selection of Royal & Sovereign colour shapers, as well as my home made mahl stick:
Using a maul stick certainly helped with better control of the pastels & shapers, particularly around the eyes, nose and lips.
I am pretty happy with this self-portrait. As always, it can always be better, and I could have spent hours more fussing over detail. But, in the end, when I stood back and used my eyes, I liked what I saw as a representation of me.
The one last thing I decided though was to crop the image and lighten it slightly in Photoshop for the learning log:
Exercise 4 – Self-portrait ← click the link to download a .pdf version of this page
Stuart Brownlee – 512319
28th March, 2014