Friday, September 28, 2012

final touches on "john"

i finally got back in the studio for a couple of hours this morning and was able to get most, if not all, of the remaining work on this portrait of "john" finished. over the last few days i added some serial glazes to the background including alizarin crimson permanent, cobalt blue, raw sienna, and some ultramarine blue ot the top. this got the background to the hue and value that i think will work. it has a little more of a transparent glow in person than shown in this photo.

i added a few more washes to the cane trying to preserve the highlight as i went along. some of the modeling and shadow on the hands came next using first the cadmium red light, raw sienna, and cerulean blue to bring the areas up to value and then a light glaze of ultramarine blue to cool it off just a little and make those areas recede some. the buttons and the shadows on the watchband were ultramarine blue and burnt sienna to make a dark almost black. i lost some of the edges of these small shapes most notably on one edge of the buttons. i like these small notes of dark leading the eye up from the bottom of the painting to the face and hands.

the bulk of the time was spent in getting the checkered pattern on his shirt. i gave it quite a bit of definition at the top near his shoulders and gradually let it fade away as i went inferiorly. this was more or less in keeping with my initial plan to lose value and definition near the bottom. i painted these checks with criss-crossing lines of cerulean blue tempered with alizarin crimson amd raw sienna to break the color up a little. a few darker shadows on the shirt were added and i put down my brush to take stock of where i was at this time.

the truth is that i don't know what else i would do except to perhaps soften the edge at the bottom of the background shape to john's *left*. if i still feel that way tomorrow i will declare this done.

my thanks again to barbara tester for her photo of this beloved man. it was an honor to be given the opportunity to paint his portrait.

"those cherished memories linger"  20"X15"


  1. If I were you I wouldn't do anything more, it's great just the way it is . I often go too far and overwork my watercolors which should always be kept this one, awesome ! And I enjoy your explaining the steps. Have a nice Sunday.

    1. good advice once again, jane. i came to the same conclusion, but couldn't resist some subtle changes in values in his hair and edges as the color came down the page. other than that i left well enough alone. thanks for your comments. i did have a great sunday. hope yours was as well.