This is the final version. One can see the detail now in the beard. I took some careful time with the eyes. There’s definitely a subtle twinkle now.The dimples help, and I lengthened the bottom lip. I’m quite pleased with the result. And if I’m happy my sitter will be too. Positivity is contagious. I’m not one of those fuss-pots, who agonize over just another dab here or there.I look at a nearly finished painting, and ask myself the classic Painter’s Mantra: what three last things does this painting need? Another huge tip is to Squint. A lot. Squint. I generally have it writ large and stuck to my easel.
Like many portrait painters, I work from photographs, which I prefer taking.This is not to say that I don’t adore working from a sitter, but I’ve invested in some excellent “glass” for my camera, arrange good lighting, use a remote shutter cord, a tripod. It works out. If my simple instructions are followed: No teeth, and lift your chin, and give me a bit of the left side of your face — I am very content to work from someone’s photo. It’s called “turtling out” your chin. For anyone of a certain age, it generally firms jaw line, and gets rid of some the the neck clutter because the angle and the shadows are more sympathetic. There are a few more steps to creating this pose, but it’s easy to see how effective it is for the most part. Inevitably, I do get good eye twinkle because the sitter is trying so darned hard not to give me teeth! It’s like saying: Don’t look now, but….
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