Thursday, November 16, 2006

Portraiture in pastel.

I love to do portraiture, and pastel is a joy to work with for skin tones. My Winston Churchill portrait was a challenge, because the subject is (sadly) no longer with us and all I had to work from was a small black and white image in a book. I wanted to breathe life into Winston and bring him back to us in glorious colour.

I include three pictures of the portrait at various stages. You will see that I am working in layers, lots of smoothing with fingers and then adding more pastel ontop until the skin really began to look as if it had blood running through it. The final layers of pastel were the reflected highlights in white or even a light magenta/blue. I used the same tone in the background to bring harmony to the picture. I paricularly enjoyed the highlights on the bottom lip, the nose and of course, the eyes which bring life to a portrait.

Winston Churchill is a very inspiring figure from history and I keep a print of this portrait in my studio to keep me going when times get tough. I can't have the original unfortunately, as it hangs in the study of a good friend and collector of my work.