Wednesday, 6 July 2011

The Eyes Have it!

This was the caption on the photograph below which was on the cover  of the Guardian weekend magazine 26 June. I was so taken by it that I decided to try and paint the subject, who was an Indian gentleman in an article entitled `The People and Portraits of Steve McCurry'.

I initially did a loose drawing, getting it as accurate as I was able and then painted the features beginning with the eyes, nose and mouth. The eyes are a little on the small side I can see that. I then painted his hand and then began the turban just to see how it would look. At that stage I finished for the day, partly to enable me to think about how to proceed with the rest of the painting. I am very conscious that paintings can go wrong at any stage and you always reach a certain point where it either succeeds thereafter or bombs. I was also feeling that I needed an extended break rather than just a few minutes. This was session one.

An Indian gentleman -16" x 12" Fontenay Rough

Looking at the original photograph I was first of all struck by the brilliant red of his turban, followed by the deep brown/sienna colour of his face and the cream of his shirt. I don't aim for a super realistic result, as this is watercolour after all but an almost impressionistic effect, although obviously it has to resemble the subject. I finished the painting the following day in one session, taking regular little breaks to review progress. The whole thing took about two hours.

I painted the features with my Isabey Series 6201 size 6 (Jacksons) and followed up with the Rosemary series 33 size 6.. These two brushes were used for the face. The rest of the painting was completed with my Da Vinci Artissimo 44 No Kolinsky mop, approximately the size of a 14 round.

Colours used for the features were a mixture of Perylene Maroon  (Rowney or Graham PR179), my first real use of this colour, and Faience Blue (Maimeri PB60) added for the darker areas. I also used Quinacridone Rust (Graham PO48) in the lighter areas. The odd touch of Cerulean ( W & N PB35) was added. Touches of Ivory Black (Maimeri PBk9) around the moustache. This was a new approach for me in terms of skin colours.  The turban comprised Cadmium Red Pale (Rowney PR108), Quinacridone Rose & Scarlet (Daniel Smith PV19, PR206 respectively) and  Avignon Orange (Maimeri PR206). Although the Daniel Smith and Maimeri above are both PR206 the colours are quite different. Touches of Faience Blue  were used in the shadow areas, both on the turban and more heavily on the right and left sides of the face. 

The shirt was painted with diluted mixes of Raw Sienna (Maimeri PBr7), some Gold Ochre (W & N PY42), and a little Cerulean. 

I am generally pleased with the final result although I realise, as always , it could be better. Comments welcome.


Mick Carney said...

It works for me too. A confident effort reflecting the work you have put into your portraiture.

Anonymous said...

Another fantastic painting. Well done. Kind regards. Rui

Peter Ward said...

Mick. Thanks as always for your comments.

Rui. Thanks also.