Saturday, September 22, 2012

finishing "oh, to be older," and starting another.

"oh, to be older," (15"X11")

i did finish the painting started last posting. it really required very little and to be truthful, while i know i did something, i can't remember what it was. so here is the end result.


the inspiration and/or model for this next painting was provided by a photo by barbara tester and found on "paint my photo." it was entitled "a man called john." i started by drawing the face and figure using a modified contour technique onto a piece of 300# hot press arches paper measuring 15"X20". 

i started the painting by putting a high value wash of cadmium red light, raw sienna, and cerulean blue using my #26 round cosmotop brush and covering the face arms and part of the upper backgound.
i kept this pretty light as his over-all complexion appears quite pale. when this was almost dry i put in the basic shape of the hair with cerulean blue and burnt sienna.

using the same colors but in different proportions and switching to a #16 round cosmotop, i painted the nose and right eye. cobalt blue was used for the iris and a dark value ultramarine blue and burnt sienna for the pupil (same for the *left* eyebrow). i lost the lower outside edge of the pupil in each eye and was careful to paint around the highlights.

i then started modeling the nooks, crannies, and creases on his face using the same flesh colors and losing some edges here and there. i noticed that i had not drawn the shirt and neck correctly on his *right* side so i put in a dark neck wash to redefine the extent of his shirt. this clearly dried too dark and will probably have to be corrected, but i will wait until more is finished before making a decision.

i put a first wash on the background in the upper right of the picture using raw sienna/umber going toward an ultramarine blue near his shoulder. 

to finish out work today i finished the *right* eye in much the same manner as the *left*, did some more modeling on the face, put in some of the shadows on his gingham shirt and played around with the checkered pattern a bit using cerulean blue charged with various tints of alizarin crimson permanent and raw sienna. the shadows were the same colors. some of background to left of the figure was put in with raw sienna/unber (i slash there descriptions because i have both colors in opposite ends of the same well so there is a bit of cross-contamination.) that doesn't really bother me although i will admit it will bother some.

so, here is where we stand on this, the first, day of painting. hopefully it will do justice to the wonderful photo taken by barbara tester.


  1. Hi Bob, Thank you so much, for choosing to paint my very favourite photo of this beautiful man. You are reading 'the summer tiredness' a day of some 38 deg C brings, in such a way it brings tears to my eyes. John was a few days short of his 86th birthday in this photo, which we never got to celebrate. I particlarly love the way you've positioned his head so close to the top edge; it reminds me so much of his wondeful tall stature at 6 feet 4 inches. He always had to 'duck his head'!
    I would like to pay all due compliments to your drawing skills, Bob - the intital drawing, without even the first touch of your skilful watercolour, has captured the very essence of an English gentleman. If I may say, the likeness you have achieved is quite incredible, given that cancer creates a palor of it's own, and which your pale washes are describing so believably. The 'drape' of those beautiful hands resting on his walking-stick is particularly well drawn; just one small detail which is impossible to discern from the photo is that John's eyes were brown. Although I only knew him for the last two years of his long life, early photos show him to be 'tall, dark, handsome!'
    It's wonderful to be able to watch the step-by-step of your portrait's creation. May I say quite sincerely, I think it would also be greatly appreciated on Paint My Photo. Justice has already been well and truly served - and I cannot thank you enough!
    Looking forward to seeing it finished!
    Barbara Tester

    1. thanks so much, barbara, for visiting the blog and leaving such a great comment. i'm glad you like the painting so far. i have taken your information regarding eye color and changed them to brown...easy. i think there was so much blue in the photo i just assumed. never a good idea.i'm so sorry that you lost a good friend in john. he sounds like he was a great guy. i hope i can do him justice. visit again soon. be well.