Follow the painting – day 3 maybe 4

I’ve done a lot of prowling round this portrait; viewing it close up, sideways, from a distance, on screen, good light, poor light, glasses on, glasses off. Why? To get different impressions of the shapes, tones and shadows, movements and statics so I can get a view from outside my painter’s bubble.


I’m happier about the face and glasses now but the wrists and the watch need more attention. In monochrome, that dark patch stands out and it shouldn’t – it looks as though it weighs an absolute ton too! Forehead could do with some lightening up after I pulled back my hairline but I need the paint to dry then I can scratch and scrape at it. Some stippling on the phone case would help match the texture and bring up the sparkle.




Portrait painting always looks tricky, to me. I see the process among those courageous folk on the Sky Arts programme who somehow put together remarkable and different portraits of sitters sprung on them on the day and in just four hours. Entrance to the competition is decided on the basis of a self portrait which may have taken much longer and is often stunning. So many techniques, so many approaches. What also strikes me is the ability of those artists to be honest about their image and let’s face it, in the selfie age where apps can alter everything, the temptation to apply the painter’s equivalent of a filter must be quite a thing. Unless you know you’re going to be standing next to it outside a gallery.

But I’m not going to be judged, well not by the Sky Arts pros anyway, so there’s definitely been a bit of an ego push to smooth over some cracks, as it were. I’ve addressed that by including the actual photo I’m working from which isn’t filtered (although the light might be a bit helpful and I’m showing no one the rejects!) so my conscience is sitting right there next to its reflection.  So, what do we think so far?

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