Portrait and Figure

Oil painted portrait

‘Andrew in Plaid’. Oil on linen, life size. 2013

Figure oil painting - Helen Davison

‘Figure VIII’. Oil on linen, 70cm x 50cm. 2013

First of all, I must take some better photos. I didn’t realise how fuzzy these were until I got them onto the computer.

Anyway, the portrait of Andrew is the result of 10 sittings over two weeks at Sarum Studio. All in all, I am very pleased with it as a study. The likeness is good, although Andrew looks markedly different when chatting and animated. This can be said for a lot of people of course, but it was especially noticeable in this instance, as his pose is particularly serious.

I wanted to suggest the general shape and pattern of the shirt, pushing it back so as not to become a focal point. It was a little truer to the plaid pattern after the session I spent on it, although I knocked it back quite a lot when viewing it again the next day. It worked well when viewed closer up, but didn’t carry well at a distance. It looks less like the pattern now, but is subtler. I think the shoulder line is quite boring, and I could have been more thoughtful in getting better characterisation through those angles.

I’m not particularly happy with this week’s figure painting either. I was working at a larger scale, and I felt rushed. There’s some nice brushwork in places, and some of the colouring and luminosity works well. The basic drawing needs a lot more working out however; defining the back of the arm closest to the viewer, as well as the back and stomach contours; structuring the legs and foreshortened knee better… and more besides. Its just a study though, and as far as it goes, has been a useful learning experience.