Sunday, November 18, 2012

Portrait of Franklin

Here's a painting I did of my son Franklin when he was just four and a half years old. It's in oil, 6 x 8 inches.  


I can't remember how I got him to hold still, but it's definitely painted from life.


Here's a closeup of the ear. I was using bristle brushes for most of the painting. The ear is stated in three passes/ three values. First there's a general skin tone scrubbed across the whole area, then a darker tone for the shadowed areas inside the ear, and finally a lighter tone for the planes catching the light.

One of the keys to painting a figure or a portrait is to think about such planes in groups. When I have a brush mixture for a given plane, I look for related planes and I try to define them before looking for new planes and creating new mixtures.

6 comments:

SulaMoon said...

Hey there :)
Long time reader, finally commenting (or rather, asking something). This is going to be a very silly question, but I have zero experience with traditional media, so I really don't know much about it.

I can see some brushstrokes pretty clearly- the brushstrokes that seems to hold pigment anyway. But above them, there seem to be brushstrokes that travels from different colored area on the paintings, but they still look like ONE stroke.
How is that? Varnish?

Thanks and sorry for the silly question! Hope it made sense hehe

mdmattin said...

Nice ear! So, were you applying the windmill principle

http://gurneyjourney.blogspot.com/2008/04/windmill-principle.html

on this one? It looks to me like the collar/left cheek goes light/light, the left ear/background light/dark, the right hair/background dark/light and the right cheek and collar/background dark/dark. But it's more subtle than the Rembrandt example.
Matthew

James Gurney said...

SulaMoon, not a silly question at all. I should have mentioned that the painting is done over a textured base coat or priming. So those big diagonal strokes through the earlobe existed on the board before I started painting. Pretexturing can be done with oil or water-based mediums, and it can make thin paint look thicker than it really is.

Matthew, I don't believe I had thought about the Windmill Principle in those terms at the time I did this. I was just trying to knock in some darker neutral tones in the background to make the skin tones and the red shirt come forward.

Rich said...

In my view he bears a certain resemblance: If it's nearer to the father or the mother, may be difficult to define from a distance.
But whomsoever: a fine portrait.

Craig Banholzer said...

The Windmill Principle! I searched the blog to find the original post. i do this sort of thing all the time in my paintings. Now I have a name for it. Thanks!33

Anonymous said...

Priceless expression you captured, there. Well done! - mp