Lockdown has provided us with the opportunity to create portraits via Zoom and using photographs. Knowing the sitter and something of their personality can also add value to the process. It can be strongly argued that the best portraits are those taken from a ‘real sitter’ in real time – when the person you are drawing is physically in front of you. It gives an extra dimension to your work when the energy from the sitter interacts with the energy of the artist. A zoom or photographic likeness can be used to make a very good portrait, but it is the hidden extra depth that can only be captured through knowing and observing your sitter in ‘real life’ that can replicate a full and truthful perspective of the person on canvas
One sitter that you will know intimately is of course none other than you! Drawing yourself and capturing a likeness and a hidden depth can be a daunting task but Tina made it seem absolutely achievable, although the choice of materials may not be known to everyone.
The list of materials used can be found in the email sent with your invite to the Zoom meeting. As we saw, using charcoal which has been soaked in Refined Linseed Oil for over 24 hours, gave the lovely dark marks of charcoal but without the dust. Also, mistakes are so easy to remove with Zest, which is low odour turps. Using a large mirror tile is another tip that we learnt worked in tandem with a smaller hand mirror for the closer inspection of intricate features.
As Tina indicated, make sure you have a strongly lit composition. This can help you to find the shapes in the early stages. Take a thickish piece of charcoal and start with faint mark making. Try and keep everything open and simple so that you can move the lines around. Make sure not to commit to an external edge to begin with. Once light marks of the angles have been drawn, Tina’s preference was to start with the eyes and work outwards. Glasses can be difficult to tackle but can add to the portrait.
You can use a double mirror to check if everything is going according to plan. Also, by looking at your own drawing either in a mirror or even upside down will allow you to look at the composition and values to identify any glaring errors.
On a personal basis I am always amazed by what Tina creates in the short space of time given to the demonstration and Wednesday night was no exception as you can see from the fabulous image, which is full of personality and life.
Thank you again Tina for another excellent evening and we look forward to seeing you once again next month.