Early in December I was approached by Peter and Mary Frey, a young couple at my church, about painting a portrait of Scott Frey, Peter's father. Scott had died the year before, and they wanted to give a painted portrait of him to Peter's mother as a Christmas present. This presented some difficulties, as I had never met Scott, and could not have him sit for sketches, but i agreed to do the portrait. Peter and Mary gathered a series of photographs of his father in different poses and settings. Peter wanted his father to appear healthy, relaxed, and in one of his favorite settings; on his boat in the Choptank River in Chesapeake Bay, Maryland, near where he lived. Several photos had interesting elements, but none was going to work as is. I was able to cobble together several sketches using elements from several photos combining the face and body from one, the hands from another, and the background elements from two others. I selected the best pose, and sent the sketch off to the Freys.
The sketch was about 1/4 actual size, and Peter had some concerns about the details of the face, but otherwise approved the sketch. I enlarged the sketch using my copier, and transferred it directly onto the 16" x 20" canvas by placing graphite paper under the enlarged sketch and tracing it onto the canvas surface. I started laying in the basic shapes using a burnt umber liquid acrylic, adding washes for tone.
I then started roughing in the areas of sky, river and blue jeans using a combination of bright and thalo blue, and the shirt, using parchment, gray and yellow ochre. I kept the highlights on the face, head and clouds, white.
Adding a mixture of blue and purple to shape the clouds.
Adding some warmth to the skin with thin washes of yellow and red tones.
The painting took about two days total. I finished it just in time for the Freys to come pick it up on their way to Maryland. They were very pleased with the results.