Sunday, January 6, 2013

Doubling up

 I have chosen the two paintings that I am going to be working on first this year. Until now I have always worked on one painting at a time but this involves a lot of waiting time both for the physical time it takes for the glazes to dry and also  for the more meditative time as I evaluate and plan my next steps. So I have decided to try something new this year and  'double up'  on a regular basis...

...and what better way to begin this than with a double portrait. I often get asked when receiving enquiries regarding commissions if all the subjects need to be in one photo because they just can't get everyone together or everyone looking their best in the one photo.  This is especially the case when the subjects are small children or pets but can happen with anyone. How often have you looked at photos and noticed that one person looks great in one photo but the other person looks better in another. I am happy to work from several photos as long as the  angle of perspective isnt completely different. eg. If a client wanted a painting of a boy with his dog and the photo of the boy was taken looking up at him but the photo of the dog was taken from above looking down this would be very hard to gel into one painting.

Steven has kindly agreed to me painting him and his wife so that I can talk you through the process and enable a future client to understand the process more clearly. I have two photographs that I will be working with.  Both are taken from similar angles  which means it is relatively easy for me to take the pose of one person from one photo and the other from the other.

  I liked the way Steven was leaning towards Darlene in the first photo. It just feels so loving and warm.  Unfortunately Darlene has her eyes almost closed but in the second photo, although she is not cuddling up to Steve as much we can see her eyes much more clearly.  You can see below how I have combined the two into one outline. (click on each image to see it larger)

 The background in my outline is blank at the moment but I have plans to use it to help create a warm loving atmosphere. When you are taking or selecting references for a commission  it is much better to choose photos that have the subject(s) nicely lit and in focus than worry about a distracting background because this can be changed.

so to summarize:

1. I can use multiple photos as long as they are taken from a similar perspective.
2. Try to choose  photos that are in focus as it is very hard for me to guess missing or blurry information
3. Try to find or take photos with interesting lighting rather than an inbuilt camera flash. Its better to go outside or next to a window and take a photo with light coming in from an angle and have a distracting background than choose a less clear photo of the subject but with a perfectly clear of clutter background.

 I will tell you about the other painting I will be working on soon but until then here's a clue.... it involves a sticky but topical subject.



  1. since you are from Canada it has to have something to do with maple syrup? I cant wait to see what you are going to do with the background.