A people portrait in progress, part 2: Evan at Gopher Hill
This is the second stage in the portrait of Evan. (See the previous post for the sketch.) Using the sketch as a guide to the shapes, I blocked in the colors over the top. By “blocked in” I mean that I roughly applied large flat areas of color. Interestingly, this looks like Evan, even at this rough stage. That’s because if one can get the eye-eye-nose-mouth placement accurate relative to one another “likeness” happens. Usually.
This stage of a painting is the most fun and the most satisfying because it is all about just mushing the brush around quickly. Honestly, I could quit at this point…and I often have.
The next step is to look again — hard — at the reference photos and to make sure the colors are correct. Then I’ll start refining the features of the face. I like to leave the clothes and backgound very loose and sketchy. Even graphite drawings I did 30 years ago are like this: “tight” face, especially eyes, and very loose clothing and hands and feet. I’ll post some of those drawings to this blog soon.
I want to add an owl in the background, to represent knowledge and wisdom…both of which Evan has. Old (16th, 17th, 18th century) portraits always had a lot of symbolism in them: skulls to remind the viewer of ever-present death, hourglasses to represent the immutability of time, coins to represent the wealth of the subject. The inclusion of an owl is appropriate for Evan because he’s liked owls — especially barn owls — from the time he was a baby.
I just noticed I forgot to paint in the “sunnies” he was holding in his left hand in the original sketch.