Monday, March 2, 2009

Portrait process...

I've decided to show you the process in doing a pastel chalk portrait. These usually average about 8 hours to do. I don't work on it 8 hours in a row, of course. I may work on it for 2 minutes or 1 hour in a work session. Sometimes I walk by it and see something that needs change and pick up a chalk and spend 20 seconds on something. This one was done over the course of 3 weeks, working on it off and on.

Here I've just started the eyes and applying some of the skin color around them. You can see (maybe...the photo is kinda dark)  the drawing part of it...that's half the battle!


I work from the top down because the chalk dust falls downward and can get stuck on finished areas below it. I often work turning the picture sideways or upside down to keep the dust going where I want it to go. The skin is a mixture of about probably 6 or 7 colors.


I've just started work on the shirt and jacket. The face is pretty much done. At the end I did lighten some of the shadows in the face.


Here I'm working on the clothing. Usually I have to mix colors to get the right color. The jacket was a mixture of 3 colors, and then the highlighting and shading.
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Here is the final piece.***OOPS ! I forgot to photograph it before I put it in the frame with glass, so there are all kinds of REFLECTIONS the camera picked up,  that's what all those weird shapes are. I lugged this thing all over the house to find a place where there were no reflections...other that in pitch black... there were reflections everywhere. sorry.

So that's it. I never spray my portraits afterward with a fixative. I have never found one that I have liked. They always seem to darken the picture somewhat and there's invariably the blob of fixative that flies out of the spray can and lands right in the center of the person's forehead and never dries. They need to be put behind glass anyway, but there are some tense moments twixt the completion of the work and it's final home behind the glass. 

15 comments:

DebraK from ~the Bunnies Bungalow~ said...

That's beautiful. Wish I was that talented to be able to do that.

Mary Ellen said...

Oh my gosh - you are amazing. If I could choose one talent, this would be it.

I'm very impressed!

Kris said...

Hi Elenka,

Thanks so much for sharing this post. I love seeing the painting come alive.
I've never worked with pastels, but you have me wanting to give it a try.
I wish you were closer so I could take a lesson or two....or thre......or twelve. LOL

Love your artwork

Kris

Marchin O'Neachtain said...

remarkable!

Mary Bullock said...

HI:
Just ran across your blog - love the portrait and how you took us through the process. And I love that you are in Maine! Me too! I love Maine!
Mary
The Figurative Realm of Mary Bullock

jojo said...

wow..just wow. I am so impressed. It's just beautiful. Why can't I do that??? Really though I thank you for taking me through the process. It's really interesting to see it come alive...

Wonderful World of Weiners said...

Holy Moly!! You rock!!

And btw, TRAVIS THE MONKEY IS EVERYWHERE!!!

Hallie :)

OhioMom said...

I am simply in awe of your talent ... thanks so much for sharing the work in progress. You are truly gifted Elenka.

Candy's daily Dandy said...

I am truly humbled by your talent. I have to say that this is becoming one of my favorite stops in the bloggersphere. I love the way you share, not only your craft, but the process in which it is created.

Is that someone you know? What a wonderful portrait!!

Balisha said...

What a talent you have. Thanks for sharing the process with us.

Lynda said...

Elenka, thanks so much for visiting my blog all the way in Africa :) I must say that when I was leaving a comment on Brin's blog earlier I did notice your gorgeous profile picture of the cat ! I have many rescued/stray cats here on our farm which I care for, I see that you are also a cat lover ! You are very talented, the portrait above is so lifelike, you must be proud of your work ...
Bye for now
Lynda
Kilimanjaro, East Africa

cam said...

I feel so forturnate that I have many of Elenka's beautiful artworks displayed in my home!

Jealous anyone?? You should be!

D Lacey Derstine said...

Hi Elena. Thank you for your kind words posted to my blog. Your work is wonderful. I love the header painting- feels just like home!
I'll continue to view your work!
Donna

Teri and the cats of Furrydance said...

I thoroughly enjoy watching the picture bloom before my eyes. It's wonder and awe I felt when seeing what the finished picture was like. I still remember paint-by-numbers art as a kid and it's about as accomplished as I ever got...

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