27 June 2012

Painting light

I've been doing a series of portraits using images by one of my favourite photographers Jill Greenberg. She has a certain way of using light that is a key signature of her work and is so inspiring to paint. The light is so intense that I use a perfect white in places; no softening with the usual blue or yellow hues. It adds a harshness to the finished piece which is why I think the images can be so confronting. They're very honest and very clean. She also exaggerates the features of her subjects in post-production which serves to emphasise the emotion; just perfect for painting! The human face is also recognised not by the shape of its features, but by the way our eye perceives the light and tone reflected off those features, This is why light is so important when painting a portrait and why it's been such a joy to work from Jill's photos.

- oil on canvas

25 June 2012

Structure through colour

This image is a little tighter than previous works I've done in this style. None of the colours were mixed, they were simply applied direct from the tube onto the canvas in a deliberate but complimentary way. It's a fast technique and the obvious, thick application of colour literally builds the portrait from the canvas and gives it life. It's been an enjoyable process and a major stress reliever!

- oil on canvas