"Paintings have a life of their own that derives from the painter's soul." Vincent Van Gogh
Sunday, June 24, 2012
Portrait of Degas as a Work in Progress
I thought it might be interesting to show the evolution of a black and white photo and a quick oil study on paper to an an oil painting on linen panel. This is a big panel for a portrait and I generally don't do portraits larger than life size. I remember someone telling me that once - perhaps in a workshop. But this portrait demanded a larger painting surface and when I feel that way, I usually chose to go with my instincts. Some subjects just demand to be painted larger for some reason. Using my quick study from yesterday and the Degas photo on my monitor I began laying in the likeness using burnt umber with some mineral spirits on a toned panel. I use my brush to determine angles and relationships and put in my darkest areas as I go along.
This is the same stage as above a little closer.
Here I had completed the oil sketch and began putting in the lightest lights.
I work all around the painting, correcting the likeness, making color choices and determining the middle tone value relationships as I paint.
This is where I left Degas today. I will look at him tomorrow and correct any glaring errors and decide if I want to bring the background to a higher level of finish. Click on the photo to see a larger and sharper image. This was a challenge to paint as the reference photo was in black and white - but I love a challenge and am reasonably happy with this result. Thank you so much for looking and I appreciate all thoughts and comments!