Portrait complete

After three months of showing you the progress on this portrait it is finished.
The technique that I have been using on the last stages of painting is one that I have been evolving for a while. Once the under painting is dry I brush onto a passage a layer of medium, a mixture of Gamblin’s cold wax and neomegilp, wipe it down a bit and then into this I work with paint that has no medium added whatsoever. You can see here the medium brushed onto the drying paint and only on the passages where I am painting that moment. The medium needs to be sticky wet to work into.
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The most satisfying part of this technique is that the new colour layer seems to melt into the paint below yet keeps a thick and buttery consistency. In the very final layers I work with glazes mostly to shadow certain passages. My technique has changed very much over the years and I’m sure it will continue to evolve as I learn from each painting what is most satisfying and how to get the effects I want.

So before I show the finished image I have a series of images showing how the painting developed.  I think I’ve told you before that I am fascinated by the technical aspects of painting and how illusion is created so this explains my interest in sharing  this sort of thing. The experience of doing the work demands a lot of patience, preparation and foresight. It is all a learning process. My vision for my painting is to be able to cut back on all the stages I go through, take all that I’ve learned from them and have my process be much more direct and efficient… we’ll see.

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Showing these groups of images is a little misleading because it takes me a very long time to get from one to another. It isn’t just a single layer between each stage but a process of painting, adjusting, refining and shifting colour. You should be able to see here shifts in values, lights in the shadows, softened edges and refined detail as I was getting the atmosphere right where I wanted it. Looking at representational paintings in photographs and on screens is also misleading as it suggests that paintings and photographs are more similar than they actually are. In my experience paintings have a completely different life to them than photos do because they are, obviously a completely different medium. But for the purposes of sharing work on a blog and on a website these will do.

Also with these full figure portraits in an environment, there is a complicated array of elements that all need to be balanced correctly to have a harmonious result.  I’m sure I make it much more complicated than it needs to be  like I said above, for me it is all a learning process.

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So here is the finished work and thank you so much for following the progress! With this piece done I have no more commissions in the queue.  I am very interested in taking on more with special interest in those that are drawings or smaller than full figure. This work takes less time and will let me dedicate more time towards getting some studio work ready for a small exhibition.  If you would like to know more about having portraits done you can read more here  or contact me with any questions or for more details.

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Thanks so much again and I’ll be back soon with an update of what is on the easel.

Thanks again!