I wanted to keep you posted on the progress of my portrait of Leonard Cohen, which I am working on right now. As I had predicted it is a major work and the completion of the sketch itself was quite a job.But I think I have cracked it.
I usually start the sketch directly on the canvas, with a soft crayon, working free hand. For the distribution of the space and the proportion I tend to trust my eyes, nothing very scientific as you can see. Sometimes of course I run into problems though, discovering that a part of the drawing is out of proportion, too large or too small as the case maybe. Then comes the time for lengthy corrections!
For this particular work, all went quite smooth until the drawing of his left hand … which I had to redo twice. Hands are quite often my weakness and I must really work at them quite hard to get them right. I sometimes end up with a bunch of chipolata sausages as fingers at first, which is quite frustrating.
Below is an animation of a few photos that show the progression of the drawing. In the last one, you can see the background already blocked with the first coat of color in order to set the subject in its space on the canvas. This gives a very good idea of where the work is going. So far I am quite happy with the result. I think, in a portrait at least, the key is to bring the basic sketch to a very high standard, then half of the battle is won.
There it is Leonard … a work in progress. As I am writing this blog, I am looking across the field outside; a hail storm is rolling across from the East, April showers we call them around here, Winter it seems has not said its last words!
This brings me a parting thought about the famous poem from TS Eliot, which starts like this:
April is the cruelest month, breeding
lilacs out of the dead land, mixing
memory and desire, stirring
dull roots with spring rain.
Until the next time in a new posting. Take care!