Trying something new

Hello! Long time!

So, I just finished up a larger pencil portrait of a father and son, and I approached it differently than I usually do. I was taught in art class, many years ago, to work on an art work all over, all at once. The danger, I was told, was that if you develop each area separately, they do not always mesh together – you create a series of separate paintings mashed together on one canvas. This is definitely true in paintings and colour drawings. However, it has proven to be a problematic approach when working on large pencil portraits. What happens is that my hand smudges everything below and to the right of where I am drawing, as I go along. And when the drawing is ‘complete,’ I then must go back and erase smudges from highlights, and amp the contrast in the image back up. Basically, it requires damage control. Some people use a barrier underneath their hand, such as a parchment paper, to prevent this from happening, but I have never worked that way – it’s too cumbersome for my liking. This time, I thought I should try to work from the top left to the bottom right, much in the way that we read.  Since I was working with graphite pencil, and a range of greys, I wasn’t concerned about the colours not flowing throughout the work, as I would be with a painting. It was worth a shot, I thought!

I snapped a picture part-way through the drawing process:


I roughed out the placement of the figures with light outlines, and then went about filling in the shading and details, starting with the boy’s face, then going to the father’s face, then to the father’s right hand, then the boy’s bowtie, and so on and so forth. It was actually a fun way to work and did protect a lot of my original shading from the wrath of my smudging right hand.  As a final stage, I still had to clean up the white border of paper around the drawing, but did save myself a lot of time in the restoration of my own drawing.

Here is the completed piece. It was commissioned as a 50th birthday gift for the ‘little boy,’ whose father (on the right of the images) recently passed. A lovely tribute, if you ask me. And I love the way it turned out – I had a wonderful photo with which to work. Both the father and son have such sparkling eyes. It was a treat to do this one. :)


Here is another recent work – a painted portrait of a cat named Jamie (11″x15″, acrylic paint on canvas.)


I hope that everyone is having a wonderful summer.

xo melody

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