Friday, April 11, 2008

Upcoming Portrait Show

I am thrilled to announce that my Winter Blues piece will on display at the upcoming 25th Annual Portrait Show at the Francesca Anderson Fine Art Portraits North gallery. I have long admired the works of the artists represented by Portraits North, and I am truly honored to be among such an esteemed group. Read more about the gallery here:

The 25th Annual Portrait Show runs from Saturday, April 19th through Saturday, May 24th.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Comparing Supports for Colored Pencil

Today I finished the portrait shown here, which is 11"x14" on a sanded support I've written about before called Pastelbord. I first applied watersoluble pastels as an underpainting, and then used colored pencils on top. This method allows me to achieve the smooth, rich color of paint and the detail and texture that colored pencils allow. As a comparison, a portrait of the same subject done with colored pencil alone on smooth bristol (heavy weight paper) can be seen here.

Although it's possible to achieve rich color on bristol board, it takes many more layers and about twice as long. In addition, any white areas must be reserved on the paper, whereas sanded supports allow for some white and light colors to be layered on top of darker colors. Finally, what I like about working on the sanded hard board surface is that the finished piece can be varnished and framed without glass, looking very much like an oil painting. I've decided to work on sanded surfaces almost exclusively from now on, unless otherwise requested by a client. The pieces in my Hands Collection are also done on Pastelbord. Feel free to post a comment and let me know what you think!

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Drawing Hands

I've noticed that when I do a portrait with hands, people will comment how real the hands look, sometimes without mentioning the face at all. At first I was surprised by this, but I think that the hands can be an important element in a successful portrait. Hands are expressive - think of what a person conveys with their hands tightly clasped, revealing white knuckles. Now think of what a person is saying with their hands at rest, palms open. Sometimes hands along with a person's body language can be more revealing than their facial expression (which in general we're pretty good at faking). For this reason, I like to take my time rendering hands. In fact, I've decided to do a few pieces of hands alone - this first one is appropriately titled "Witness First Hand".