It has been a little while since I last posted anything here, although I have been keeping myself fairly busy with various painting projects. I believe I left you with my lighthouse painting in my last post.

Since then I have completed the third watercolour painting of my daughter Grace, in a series that will eventually total five. Watercolour and Guache to be precise. Grace provides me with an almost constant selection of self-portraits (usually pilfered by me from her Instagram account – she doesn’t mind and sometimes even willingly offers me photos to paint). She’s a lovely girl.

Slightly different than the previous two portraits in the series, in that it is a profile view of her. Though I still think it is very effective, compositionally speaking. Click on the gallery below to view the painting and original photo.

The objective in this series has been to render her in a hyperrealistic manner, though still maintaining a fair amount of artistic integrity. Grace’s original photo wasn’t the best resolution, and if you remember I did a very detailed sketch from observation once I’d captured the basic forms. This one took about five days to paint, although complete working time was closer to ten days including the layout drawing.

Once I’d finished my third portrait of Grace I decided I would resume work on my painting of the Venetian scene I’d started in February 2019. I believe the last time I’d worked on it was back in June, last year, and since then it has been sitting on a spare easel gathering dust, and thoroughly drying. The image below is where I left off:

Venetian Fruit Cart – Oil on canvas. Progress made as of June 2019.

I realised that how I’d chosen to approach this piece wasn’t working for me, so I stepped away from the project until I came up with something better. In the meantime, I have been learning how to paint better in oils and perfecting my photorealism skills. Almost a year after I began this project I decided to resume work armed with a new confidence, and a better plan of action. Instead of trying to use the computer to see the colours for me, I have decided to rely on and trust my own powers of observation. I’m finding I’m doing a much better job now, even though the colours aren’t exactly the same as the photo. I am opting for producing hyperrealism rather than precise photorealism. I still want this painting to look like a painting.

It’s been going fairly smoothly, and since I’m retired and currently quarantined from the world, I am able to spend full days painting. It makes a big difference to be able to dedicate my time to a single painting, and a daily routine helps exorcise any inhibitions about approaching such a challenging project. Months of work have already gone into this piece, and there is yet a huge amount of work to do before I can even dare suggest that it’s finished. There is very little bare canvas left now, which pleases me no end as it makes me feel as though I have made real progress. This piece is very labour intensive and so I’ve been tasking myself daily with a particular section of the canvas and dedicating my efforts to those few square inches.

Below is my work to date (I was working on the windows of the background buildings today. I need to let the paint dry a little before I tackle them again and hopefully begin to refine them). The second image is Bill’s original photo that I’m aiming to reproduce as closely as possible. Click on the image to zoom in and have a nose at the detail so far. Not much will be left out.

Work in progress – Oil on canvas 16×20 in. Latest work.
Venetian Fruit Cart – Venice 2016. Bill Jones.

Bill reckons it might just be my masterwork yet. We’ll see. He’s sweet.

In the interim I have been doing the odd watercolour sketch. I’ve always wanted to paint a British Robin. Feisty but very cute little things and sorely missed – probably not by the cat, however. Guinevere prefers to eat them.

Robin on Stump – Watercolour and Guache sketch, 5×7 in., 2020.

I do hope everyone is managing to stay safe and well during such globally taxing times. I’m looking forward to the return of a semblance of normality, if that’s at all possible. In the meantime I’ll continue painting and aiming to stay alive.

Thanks for popping in and reading if you have. Stay well.

M.

6 thoughts on “Art – Photorealism and Painting Portraits

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