"Portrait of Ben Derosa" by Andrew Daniel
24" x 18" oil on canvas
Ben's father saw that I paint portraits a while back and asked me if I wanted a photo of him to paint. I looked forward to seeing what he brought me, because Ben always shows his moods on his face openly. It was so fun to explore his animated expression, complete with his toothy smile.
Ben is a man who is always in the moment, exhibiting an unfettered joyousness that is infectious!
Susan Neddham recently loaned me three videos of portrait painters, Sherie McGraw, David Laffel, and Jeremy Lipking. Watching these folks paint and talk about their craft opened up some new possibilities that I was eager to try out. Ben's photo, had been carefully wrapped in plastic in my paint box waiting for such an opportunistic moment to speak up.
I feel the need to apologize for the photo quality, my old iphone has been my only camera for a while. It may be hard to make out what I was doing here.
I took away a couple big lessons form watching Laffel paint. One being you can literally apply the paint as wrecklessly as your whim takes you, scrubbing it, slathering it, and smearing it together. These kind of marks embue the painting with a certain visceral physicality, that makes the piece look more like a painting them a rendering.
The second thing I wanted to try from Laffel is heightening the level of textural contrast between my foreground (lit) objects and my (unlit) background. Thick texture reflects light, and has a more tangible presence. So you can almost sculpt a shallow bas relief with the paint in order to convey space.
McGraw's video, helped me to see expressive potential in the shape of the head.
Lipking's video invited my to slow down and enjoy the process of rendering each area without feeling rushed to fill the canvas.
Needless to say, I have enough ideas floating around, that I will need to do more then just the one portrait. To explore them. I've reinstated Eureka Figurative Art Group to meet at Michelle Murphy-Fergusen's studio each Thursday afternoon. Contact me if you want to join us.
If you are interested in having a portrait painted, ask me about my special (in the mood to paint portraits) rate!