Monday, July 2, 2012

Picture of Mary and Jesus

I've just about finished the sketching stage of a picture of Mary and Jesus. This photo is a bit dull, having been taken on the iPad, but it shows, somewhat roughly, the progress that's been made. The pencil strokes are very light, at this stage, so I had to increase the contrast of the photo to enable the sketch to be easily viewed on the screen.
I wasn't sure which subject pose would be win out until I began to sketch, and this one became the final choice. It seemed more straightforward than the other pose - less adjustments were needed - and it felt right. Something about the fact that they were looking deeply into each other's eyes caught my interest. There's trust and love between them.
Mary's expression will be altered slightly, as I progress - I've already adjusted the focus of her attention so that she is looking into the child's eyes. In the photo, she is looking down a little more. I would also like to introduce a slight smile to her lips - serious and serene, but loving. She has respect and joy, at the same time. The child's face seemed right to me, so I've tried to capture it as it is in the photo.
The head covering needs a lot of adjustment. It had slipped down too far, in the photo. I wanted to show some of her hair and the beautiful shape of her head but I also want to capture her modesty and respect for convention. This may have to be completed with a drawing of the covering from life, to ensure that the folds are realistic and suggestive of soft flows, rather than stiff, inflexible ridges.
There will probably be another correction of the head shape, as I can see from the photo that the shape of the skull is a little odd, under the cloth. Viewing the picture on the computer is really useful as it accentuates any errors and helps me to recognise and correct them. It's important to get the general proportions accurate at this stage, as coloured pencil drawings are very difficult to alter, later. I generally work with very light strokes to easily allow for necessary adjustments and to build up depth slowly. This way, a more accurate and realistic effect is more likely to result.
The next step is to lay the washes for the skin tones. This is a time-consuming part of the process but it's important not to rush it, with fewer, heavier strokes, if the skin is to look delicate and softly lifelike.
It's been some months, since I have done one of these portraits and I must admit that I found it quite difficult to make a start but, as usual, the world quickly melted away once I began. The heavenly peace that art brings me is difficult to articulate without sounding slightly daft. Perhaps, the fact that Jesus is the true artist and I am the instrument may explain this pure joy and contentment - Jesus is the creative source here and it seems that Mary is His apprentice, as her presence is also very much part of the process.


  1. Hi Vicky
    Just discovered your blog. Very nice it is too. I will be back to see how this picture is progressing. I am sure it will be lovely. God bless you.

  2. Thank you, Breadgirl! I have made very slow progress, lately - it's been a year of lacking confidence - but, after your encouragement, I went back to the drawing board, for the first time in a month. It was a heavenly feeling to be doing art, again!

    Thank you for your welcome comment.

    God bless you, too:-)


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