Portrait in Charcoal

I hope you are all enjoying your 2018 so far!

I have been hard at work in my studio working on my portrait skills and updating materials for those interested in commissioning me for their own projects. I now have a brochure that is available to you for the asking that describes my fees and procedures.

In my last post I showed you the pet portraits I have been doing over the last year and a bit and now I would like to share a finished charcoal portrait on paper. I have not done these as commissioned work before now so I am very happy to add this to my offerings.

Ali complete

This work is 20×16″ on paper and you can see the work in progress on my Instagram gallery where I post frequently here.  I enjoy very much a  physical kind of drawing full of varying textures and methods and this work shows that tendency perfectly. I began by rubbing charcoal dust into the paper to get an overall grey tone. The process is physical and intuitive, very messy and very satisfying. I add layers of different weights of charcoal, buffing and rubbing with fabric, brushes and fingers,  drawing with different types of erasers which I cut into shapes for thin, dull or sharp marks. I add and remove the pigment until the form and description of the subject is perfect to my eye.  It creates a lovely texture and life to the portrait.   At the end of the process I fix the drawing with a spray so that it all stays in tact and won’t shed dust any more.

Ali detail 8

One of the most exciting things about drawing in this way for me as an artist doing representational work is that I can get a variance of descriptive marks. Hair next to fabric next to flesh are all drawn differently but in the same media-charcoal and white chalk. For instance when my attention was on the flesh I was rubbing in a faint layer of charcoal then shaving off a layer of it with a thinly sliced eraser wrapped around my finger. For the shoulder I added a layer of white chalk rubbed into the charcoal ground underneath.

Ali detail 7I save the very sharpened charcoal pencil for adding pigment for detail in the facial features but use an equally sharpened hard plastic eraser removing pigment detail in the hair. I’m showing close up details of the work so you can see what I am talking about.

Ali detail 4

I’ll be back soon with updates from my current project but until then if you are interested in commission a portrait from me of this or any kind please contact me here or through Jarvis Hall Gallery here.  I am very grateful for any projects as it is a major way to support my studio practice.

Ali detail 1

3 thoughts on “Portrait in Charcoal

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