Thursday, 14 January 2010

Lust For Life Work In Progress

My plan was to create a portrait of Kirk Douglas and so, searching for a good reference photograph to use I came across a still from the 1956 film 'Lust For Life'. It was too good to resist so I now have a portrait of Kirk Van Gogh!

I began with the hat which I have to admit gave me a lot of trouble. I initially began drawing in great detail, every fibre and straw but after several hours I was getting nowhere with it and so decided to 'loosen' up a bit. The initial start then had to be adjusted to match so almost 2 sessions in, all I had to show was this portion of the hat completed

Once I got into the rhythm of the weave of the straw I began to get somewhere with it. Darker than the reference picture and with a slight blur to avoid it looking over fussy, but still with plenty of detail.

Next was the forehead, followed by the eyes. I wanted to give the impression of a sunburned face, so used plenty of depth of tone before adding the texture and wrinkles. Once the eyes are in I get a better idea of tonal values and go back over the forehead to adjust.
Next I begin putting in the hair and beginnings of the beard. I have made good use of my stylo and also the technique of pre-drawing with a very hard, needle sharp 6H pencil which prepares the board so that when I add the 3B and 6B I get realistic hair with depth. I put the ear in next so that I can get the hair which falls on top of it.
Plenty of work on the beard now, I can see the hairline will need to be blended in more to the forehead and tones adjusted on the hair. I also complete the background above the hat to bring it out, add a few highlights and make final detailing.

After the neck is roughly completed I can begin on the clothing. He's wearing a coarse, woolen type of shirt which I achieve firstly by 'painting' with graphite dust using fingers and course tortillon. Then going over with a very sharp 6B in minute swirly motions to create the fibrous texture.
Below is the completed portrait, which can be viewed and purchased on the MightyFineArt website. Quite a moody one and rather striking in real life!

5 comments:

Pat said...

Realistic - and how!

Vicki Greene said...

Wow, amazing!

j t said...

just! well! I'm in Orr!

ugo paradiso said...

Peter, you have done an excellent job doing this demonstration and coming up with this brilliant results!

ugo paradiso said...

Peter, you have done an excellent job doing this demonstration and coming up with this brilliant results!