It's a lonely life...that of the necromancer, er freelancer

A blog by a designer and illustrator, for designers and illustrators which may contain musings on art, movies and random weirdness.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Scott Frey Portrait

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.

Refining and adjusting the overall tonal values.

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.

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