I was commissioned to paint this gorgeous boy as a wedding present from collegues. A gift voucher was given so that the couple might take their time and choose their best image of Finn. I was so pleased to receive their photo as it was beautiful and a setting to do Finn justice. Finn the explorer!
Finn’s finished portrait 16″x 16″ soft pastel
Here you can see the photo reference and I have my line drawing transferred onto the sandy coloured velour. This is the first time I’ve used self adhesive foamboard instead of mountboard as that’s all I could find in Spain, but it’s really better! So much firmer, which is a must for those floppy velour sheets if you want to build up layers.
I start to block in the background and just a nice gradient in the sky, with a bit more blue than in the photo.
Blurry backgrounds is something I get asked about a lot. I’m just finishing off a video tutorial with real time footage and narration. Check out my Youtube channel www.youtube.com/emmacolbertart
These were the main colours used in this background so far. I love green and purple together and heather provides such a beautiful splash of purple. Can’t resist a mustardy green in there too!
The weather in El Campello in Spain has been beautiful this past couple of weeks. As I write this however, the wind blows and it’s turned a bit colder. A good excuse to stay in and get this finished. This shot was taken in a dried up river bed which had become overgrown. Another possible backdrop for a portrait!
I make a start on Finn’s face before going any further with the background. I use pastel pencil for the very finest hairs around the edges.
I think I’ve broken every pastel in this portrait! The need for sharp edges for Finn’s scruffy locks meant breaking already small pieces even smaller.
A little help from the light pastel pencils but the best strength of colour comes from the edges of the softer pastels.
At this stage there was beautiful light coming through the window so I took a shot with the good camera. It put a lovely hue over the colours.
This is a view from across the road at the river bed place we parked.
Not sure what this mountain is called but I would love to paint this. Even those clouds are perfect!
I picked up some new beach art for the dashboard in the van. It’s the only place we can have nick nacks on display and these are perfect.
Brocci enjoying the evening sunshine. She looks nice and orange but she really needs a bath soon!
I start to move on down Finn’s body and realise how many different directions his long hair goes and how many layers of different colours there were! At times like that I have a cup of tea and stare at it for a while. Then just tackle each area like abstract shapes and colours, try not to get bogged down in the huge amount of it!
This area will be tricky as Finn is wearing a halter in the photo which they wanted removed. I have another photo without the harness in it though so I should be able to figure it out. It’s just very hairy!
I leave this area for a while though and focus on the heather that will be a bit more in focus just behind Finn. After I block in the darkest areas which gives me some shapes to work with, I use my hand to rub that layer really well into the paper. There will be many layers so I want each to be well rubbed in. It can be neatened after that if necessary.
Once I establish the dark areas I block in some of the heather flowers. Purples and pinks with strong lilacs.
One side almost done. These parts always take me as long as the subject! I really have to think about flowers and foliage.
I love these zingy Unison pastels. The green range is so lush!
The foliage done and working on this rock he’s standing on. Because it’s right in front of us I do want it to look detailed but without needing pencil or anything so loose marks too.
Working the rest of Finn’s legs. His outline is in there somewhere! I get the feeling he would look really cool backlit!
Some of the hair added now and they’re beginning to look like Finn’s.
Back to the rock to finish.
This is the area we have been parked on and off over the week. It’s nice to find a good quiet spot to work with a beach across the road for the dog walks.
Back in the van we’re treated to sky shows. Brocci is more concerned with the ducks flying past.
Thank you for visiting my blog. Hope you’ve enjoyed Finn’s progress and a little of my current journey’s in Spain.