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.

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.