Thursday, 31 January 2013

Double Portrait

Some time ago, around the middle of November, my very dear friend Ingrid (Ingrid Ormestad Art) asked me how I would feel about drawing a pencil portrait of her husbands sister and brother-in-law, Caroline and Ian. Caroline had sadly passed away some weeks earlier and this was to be a gift for Ian. I was honoured to be asked, and accepted with much delight, but I do confess to being somewhat apprehensive.

I knew I wanted to work on this drawing slowly, over time, and without frequent breaks away from it. Knowing what a crazy month December is, I decided not to touch it until the new year. Thankfully Ingrid was happy for me to do it in my own time and that helped a lot.

About two weeks ago I picked up the reference photo, sharpened my pencil and laid out a blank sheet of paper. As I progressed I took many Work In Progress photo's so that I could show the various stages to my forum members. I won't bore all of my fellow bloggers with them but if anyone would like to see them, and their accompanying explanations, they can be seen here. Work-In-Progress


Although not everything went as well as I would have liked, as you'll see in the WIP, I can't remember the last time I was so content with my art. Sitting at my desk with my favourite music playing and my mind totally absorbed in the movement of my pencil, I was in seventh heaven. The frustrations of trying to control watercolours often drive me to despair but a few minutes with my pencils and those frustrations just melted away.

I have been struggling with my art for some time, especially watercolours, and my confidence has been taking a few knocks, but this project was just what the doctor ordered.








38 comments:

  1. Outstanding!
    I have just looked at the WIP and the explanations and it was brave to remove the jumper, but it paid dividends.
    This has got to be my newest favourite of yours, John. Bravo! xx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you very much Pat, that means a lot. Yes, removing the jumper was a leap of faith but it was worth the risk. It's still too dark but better than it would have been if I'd continued with what I was doing.

      Delete
  2. As ive said else where this is top draw stuff young man.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks a million Paul ... I really do appreciate your support.

      Delete
  3. Superb John, the way you work with pencil is outstanding.

    I don't know whether you ever got around to trying coloured pencils (I remember you mentioning it). If you find watercolours so frustrating maybe they're just not for you, but I think you might enjoy pencil work in colour. It would involve the same layering and shading techniques as the graphite work and, to a certain extent, you would be able to make corrections.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I've had a small dabble with the coloured pencils Keith but nothing serious. It's high on my list of must do's. Thank you very much.

      Delete
  4. Gorgeous work! Wow, John you really have done a splendid drawing here. Loved seeing the WIP. What did Ingrid say :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you very much Ann, and I'm glad you enjoyed the WIP. Ingrid and her family are over the moon with the drawing which pleases me more than I can say.

      Delete
  5. Oh, it is just wonderful John! You've done a beautiful job and how thrilled Ian must be!
    It seems that we all go through these confidence melt-downs at times - I am part way through one at this very time and it's not a nice feeling at all.
    Why don't you stick with pencil for a little while, because it's in your comfort zone, just until your confidence builds again. Then go back to watercolour...
    Anyway - I have a question. I am dying to see all the bears in your website challenge and though I've found the art project forum, I can't seem to find the actual paintings. What am I missing? :0)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Sandra. Sometimes I think my watercolours suffer because of my pencil work. I need to concentrate on watercolours more but like my pencils too much.

      With regards to the bears, you need to go to the painting challenge topic and follow one of the links to the Project Page. Here is a link to the Project conversation and here is one just to The Bears. Mine isn't there yet as I've been busy on the portrait but I hope to do it later.

      Delete
  6. Excellent work...I would love for you to try again with basic drawing and watercolors. Just throw down undertones loosely and come back in with a dry brush technique for detail. You see, I know it will come together if you relax and just have fun with it. You are so talented. Drawing and Value are the two most important tools of an Artist...you excel at both.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you very much Trudy. That's a lovely idea and I may just give it a go. I appreciate your encouragement and support.

      Delete
  7. John, have no doubt you are an excellent pencil artist.
    Each one you do, I think is your best yet and this is no different.
    I won't say you've reached the top, because one never knows.
    But right now it doesn't get any better than this.
    BJ

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This is a lovely thing to say BJ and I'm really very grateful. I'll also take this opportunity to thank you for some of the great tips you've passed on.

      Delete
  8. John this is brilliant. I enjoyed the wips and your method of producing such a wonderful likeness. Amazing.!!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you very much Joan. I'm glad you enjoyed the WIP.

      Delete
  9. Hi John, a very touching post and I can see why Ingrid asked you to do the portrait. It really is fantastic. I know for sure it will be cherished for a very long time. Thanks for showing us the process too.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm glad you enjoyed the process Laura. I wish I could do this sort of work without using a grid but I guess it's the end result that matters. Thanks for the nice comment.

      Delete
  10. Hi John.
    This is a really brilliant double portrait you have done here. I can`t see any difference in your portrait to the photo. It`s amazine my friend. You are truly a fine draughtsman. Please keep showing us your lovely drawings John. All the best.
    Vic.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you very much Vic, I really appreciate it.

      Delete
  11. You should be so happy with this portrait, John. It is BEAUTIFULLY drawn!!! It looks like a photograph....I hope to see more portraits soon...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes Hilda, I must confess that I am very happy with it. Thank you very much.

      Delete
  12. Such a great portrait! I will now have a look at the WIP pictures too. I am sure it will be very interresting. Take care John.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Thanks for showing all the stages of the portrait. I enjoyed it alot!

    ReplyDelete
  14. There is nothing like succeeding in what you are aiming at, and you totally succeeded here to say the least, the drawing is superb, absolute and total likeness ! Really awesome ! And great to see all the steps, thanks .

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm really very grateful for your lovely comment Jane. Thank you very much.

      Delete
  15. Good Morning John!... A wonderfully sensitive portrait which pushes well beyond successful graphic rendering alone! There remains the sparkle of love... and life between two individuals woven onto the paper. Bravo! He'll be hrilled... and touched! Hat's off to you sir!

    Nothing wrong at all... with being a "pencil pusher" when one does it with the skill and passion that you do John. Maybe coloured pencils as Friend Keith suggests... might suppliment your lead fixation??? HA HA!!

    Have fun!... and Good Painting!
    Warmest regards,
    Bruce

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank your very much Bruce. As I set out to create the portrait it was very much in my mind that I wanted to create something more than just a drawing, but it was more than I dare do to think that I actually could. What you've written here pleases me more than I can say.

      Yes, I'm going to give those coloured pencils another go.
      All the best Bruce

      Delete
  16. I'm always impressed with your pencil drawings, John, but I had no idea you were into portraits. I'm gob smacked at the realism you have achieved... bravo! I'm glad they have got you out of the doldrums and hope to see you banging out your work across all the mediums in the not too distant future....Stay warm!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I've done 3/4 portraits previously John and have always enjoyed them despite finding them to be a bit of a struggle. I quite fancy doing a few more now. Thank you for the nice comment.

      Delete
  17. Your portrait is sensational John, your pencil work so fine. I am sure Ian is very happy with your work. Although we all go through the doldrums with confidence, this portrait should be quite a boost. Well done!!!!

    Sue

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes indeed ... quite a boost. Thank you very much Sue.

      Delete
  18. ian must be delighted with your potrait as you should be john ... how thoughful of ingrid

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, she's very thoughtful. Thank you Jane.

      Delete
  19. You are very brave to do a double portrait. This looks lovely.... but it should be at the top of the post to show it off properly!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you very much Sue. I usually place my images within the text and this was a bit of a one-off.

      Delete