The new art season has started and with it an art workshop I wanted to attend last Saturday. I love the painting days with my artist friends, when we’re all fired up with enthusiasm for the art we’re going to do, and tips we’re going to learn. This particular tutor was a guy who specialises in portraits in oils or pastels, and I’ve attended his workshops before so I knew that it would be a good learning day.
He started the day doing a demo in oils of one of the models, a young girl of 15 who had never posed before, so it was a new experience for her, and one I have great admiration for, since I can’t sit still more than five minutes without fidgeting! The thing I always find so wonderful, was that from the very first splash of colour on the canvas, it looked good. And it continued to look good through the whole hour that he was painting, even when it was a only hint of the face that was emerging from the canvas.
Then it was our turn the pupils to start to paint, and we had the choice of the same 15 year old, or an older woman to draw. But I knew that I wanted to paint the younger person, mostly because she had something the other one didn’t. Not just a fresher face, and bluer eyes, but long, very long, slightly curled blondish hair. That was what I wanted to capture in the pastels I was working in.
The day was just about capturing a good likeness of the model in pastel, drawing from life. The tutor told us that he had got so used to painting portraits that he sometimes forgets that he’s painting a real person, and thinks of it like a still life, the subject there infront of him, ready for him to capture in paint or pastel in a painting. But when he had to draw a five year old boy he suddenly had to work harder and capture the essence of the child since he wouldn’t sit still, and was bouncing around, full of life.
I was happy with the way my drawing went, that I had a good likeness of her, and the painting I did in the day, but could see me adding something to it at a future date, maybe to make it more of a fantasy piece. The thing about doing portraits, is that you’re only going to sell it to the person who is sitting for you, or their loved ones. Unless they are a celebrity. So, I knew when I did it that it might not get any further than being filed in a draw. But, that lovely hair made it more special, and something that certainly added to the appeal of the picture, and can be embellished further…..