Friday, April 17, 2009

Portrait Study

UPDATE: 4.25.2009
I couldn't help myself... I had to work on this more. The eye on the left was bothering me, so finally on Friday, I got a chance to get to it. I'm glad I did, because all though it seems like minute changes, it really made a difference in likeness.

For the last few weeks I've been working on this portrait study of my son Wyeth (I know, we are total art geeks for naming our son Wyeth, what makes it worse is that his older sister is named Sienna). Much like nature, it is very hard for me to paint my family, without feeling inferior in my skill. They are held up so high in my esteem, that I just can't see them clearly. Yet here, I am trying to conquer that notion, with one small step at a time.

This is a study for a much larger, full figure composition that has been brewing in my head for sometime. It is rather atypical of me to work so long on figuring out a painting. I usually can work off of a tiny thumbnail to get a painting started, but this one has such high meaning and importance to me, that I'm taking my time. What I've discovered from this study, is that I really need to work on getting accurate colors in my shadow masses. I use a very limited palette (Flemish White, Green Earth, Lead Tin Yellow, Yellow Ochre, Raw Sienna, Burnt Sienna, Vermilion, touch of Manganese Violet, Raw Umber, Burnt Umber, Cobalt Blue- in that order counter clockwise on my palette) and lately I indeed have found it a bit too limiting. This painting also has mixes with Cad. Red light.

Portrait Study of Wyeth
oil on panel
14" x 11"


  1. The expression on your boy is just great. I think the head looks really solid too. The advantage with doing children is that they change so quickly. By the time you're done he will have changed and the painting will be more satisfying to you.

  2. Fred, that is a great reminder. You are so right that children change before our eyes. I better hurry up then!

  3. I agree about family members being difficult to paint for some reason... what's the deal with that?

  4. Wyeth is absolutely precious in this picture!

    Hope you guys are doing well..

    ps. i definitely miss him making that face at me haha.

  5. Wonderful painting, great expression !

  6. Diane, it IS difficult, but I feel like I've sort of over come something by doing this portrait (or at least have gotten closer than ever before).

    Kourtney, we ALL miss making faces at you ;)!

    Morgaine, thank you for your very nice comments. I see this expression on his face all too often! BTW I got a chance to peek at your blogs. Very fine work there. I look forward to keeping up with you.