The pace of the art world is fast and operates in so many different ecosystems. We are inundated by imagery, events, exhibitions, new techniques, old techniques, new artists, old artists, gossip, drama, and an energy that pulses nonstop, day in and day out. Even for all of us, whose jobs and passions put us right in the middle of the action, it is, well, a lot. That’s why I celebrate the exceptional when it comes my way. So here’s to the noteworthy in.
Details to Note
I use a standard palette for each of my portraits, with skin tones made of a combination of surprising colours layered in tiny strokes. I use heavy body acrylics and larger strokes for the background and ﬂuid acrylics applied with tiny brushes for the foreground and the hair.
By using acrylics produced here, which dry completely ﬂat, I am able to go into my works with pencil and create the texture effects for which I have become known. I work in layers, ﬁnishing with glazes of colour mixed with medium and applied with sponges, often ten to twelve layers on a piece, producing a work of great depth and richness.
Timing isn’t Everything
I took great liberties with both the value (increasing the contrast) and with the colour (using the near complements of blue-violet and orange) to add interest to an already visually pleasing scene. Simpliy cation of the value plan and shape relationships was done with pencil in my sketchbook. I tossed local colour in favour of violet, red-violet, blue-violet and orange to add interest beyond reporting what I saw. I used a large brush (Rosemary and Co Ivory short ﬂ at, size 10) and heavy body acrylics (Holbein and Golden) and attacked the painting with aggressive brushwork. Start to ﬁnish the painting took less than an hour to complete and I think captured energy and essence of what I felt that cold winter morning.
My painting medium is Golden OPEN acrylics. They offer slower drying time, therefore an ability to be manipulated with ease to create a desired effect. Colours are brilliant, pure and easy to mix. I ﬁnd acrylics very compliant and eager to accommodate the approach dictated by the subject and artistic style. Quicker drying time offers instant visual results.
I feel any given person’s face has an abundance of colour, so I paint portraits with the colours I personally see in the subject. To ﬁnish off the painting and create emphasis, I highlighted the face with dark and thick neutrals. I chose bright yellow as the background to bring attention to the portrait while giving it a whimsical mood. In the end, this acrylic painting came together as a vibrant completed puzzle.
The Familiar Made Unfamiliar
I celebrated pigments, with the dominance of orange and blue, to create a striking effect with an abstract quality in the end result. Since the subject is sleeping, I didn’t want the painting to be way too overwhelming, so for the background I used neutral tones to balance the painting.