Tuesday, August 31

Art Spotlight - 'Dad' [It's All About Me]

My dad was just 15 days shy of his 75th birthday when he died.  So when my mom asked me to speak at his funeral, I figured there was only one way to put a staple on that...art.

It's no secret that I've been doing a lot of airbrushing lately.  I've also done some color pencil work lately.  But I just felt black and white would immortalize him.  From the dark shadows to the subtle mid-tones to the bright highlights, I wanted to capture his smile.

I chose to work with bristol paper and graphite pencils.  For the darkest areas - I used charcoal.  I also wanted it to be large - so I went with 19 x 24.

I started with a photo I had of him and projected it using a 2H pencil.  I've done hundreds of portraits - all freehand.  There's been some debate on whether a projector is cheating.  I have two thoughts on this:  the basic outline of your subject the final piece does not make.  When you look at the portrait above, you don't focus on the outline, you see the shading.  The shading is what gives it depth and character.  No projector can shade for you.  Two, projectors save time.  It allows me to get through the tedious job of giving the subject the proper shape and proportion and move to the real artistic part - shading.

After the outline, I usually start with the eyes.  Proportionally, I probably spend more time on the eyes.  The eyes are what you see first.  When you talk with someone, you look them in the eyes.  So to me, the eyes are important.  Plus, they serve as a nice focal point.

I jump around alot - so after the eyes, I move to the mouth and nose.  I tend to build my shadows.  I start with a 2B pencil and fill in shapes of shading areas.  Then I will use a q-tip, cotton ball, tissue, and/or tortillion [paper blunt - the unfilled kind] to move the graphite around.

Next I worked on the beard and mustache.  Then the hair.  And then the jaw, head, and hair [or lack thereof].

Lastly, I normally focus on any background or clothing.

I spray all of my pieces with a fixative so as to preserve the graphite.

As you can imagine, the piece was a nice addition to the many flowers that graced dads casket.  Now, 'Dad' sits in my moms house - proudly displayed.

If you'd like for me to immortalize a family member, dog, house, car, etc with a portrait - please contact me.
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