Sunday, June 12, 2011

Portrait of Joel - More Texture: Wood

The wooden bench has had many layers applied, with a great range of strokes and varied pressure, throughout. First of all, I applied a light layer of pale brown, following the flow of the woodgrain. Subsequent layers included olive green, ochre, brown, orange, terracotta, yellow ochre and black. The rendering only started to take on a realistic effect when I gained the confidence to use bold and expressive strokes. Before that, I was focusing overly much on detail and my strokes were too timid. The effect was flat and unrealistic. As always, I will leave the bench at this, semi-finished, stage and returned to improve and complete it when I can see it in the context of the whole picture.

Little details, like the knots in the wood, go a long way to adding to the realism of a picture. Unfortunately, this bench was rather too aged to look like real wood, in my opinion. I felt it had more the look of concrete. It was, also, rather characterless, with a marked absence of interesting details. I have used artist licence, where I can, to improve the colour and texture of the wood, without taking away from its aged appearance. I felt that the aged look was important to the mood of the picture.

The next stage is to finish the legs, the hand and the snack pack, before making some important decisions about the background - though, I could swap that around depending on where the inspiration leads me, in the morning. I think the background of the photograph will need to simplified somewhat. The main reason for this is that the foreground textures are quite fussy, and I don't want the picture to look messy and over-complicated. The other, equally important, reason is that my deadline for this picture is looming and it is necessary to treat this project in a business-like manner. Time management and scheduling are a necessity and these affect how I will approach the last stages of this portrait.


  1. I never noticed until you pointed it out that Joel's legs and snack pack weren't finished. Whoops! Bottom marks for observation for me.

  2. Even worse that I almost forgot I hadn't done them, Immy! Wouldn't want to notice that when it's hanging up at the exhibition;) xx

  3. That would be embarrassing. Where's the exhibition being held?
    (hopefully I'll post this comment without having to try three times)

  4. The exhibition's in Gosford, starting on Saturday for 2 weeks. Better start working quicker to get it ready on time! xxx

  5. I hope everything goes well for you. I'm sure you'll get the picture finished. I can't wait to see it when it's done.


Thank you for reading my blog. I appreciate your comments and feedback. Vicky