This is a painting I’ve been meaning to do for years.  My Granny was a warm, joyful woman who loved nothing more than to be in the garden.  I wanted to paint this for my mum but the photo reference we have of her is limited and her face was the size of a coin in every photo.  But the photo I worked from did show her just how we remember her.  With a glowing smile and wearing her favourite colours.  Hope you enjoy my progress on this little piece.

The finished piece 9″ x 9″ soft pastel.

This was the photo I decided to work from.  That’s me in her arms so it’s a long time ago…about 30 years.  I scanned the photo in and cropped it so I could zoom in onscreen as I worked.

I wanted the background to be blue and had initially thought I’d keep it plain.  But plain does not describe her as she loved pattern and bright colours.  She nearly always had paisely print or some kind of psychedelic design on her.  So I went looking at Van Gogh’s paintings to inspire a bit of swirly turbulence for the background.

Just starting to block in some darker areas.  The photo is tricky as most of her face is in shadow.  But I loved the light hitting down the left side so hopefully that will create a good contrast.

Starting to feel the form of her face now.

Because the eyes are so small in the photo it’s difficult to get a huge amount of detail although it does help that I knew her so well.  Sometimes it’s possible to work from a lesser photo if you’ve met the person.

Both eyes in now and I feel I’ve caught a hint of her expression.

Her hair is the last thing to do.  She always wore her hair so perfectly with small rollers going in the night before.  I love how women wore their hair back then, and when I see pictures of her in her younger days, she really did look quite glamorous.

Finishing off in the evening light.  Loved how the light caught the portrait as the sun was setting.

The final touches on the hair are made by pastel pencil.

Here is the piece framed.  This weekend I’ve been visiting home so there are no travel pics in this blogpost.  I caught up with my wonderful framer in Art & Home Holywood and collected this which I had posted ahead of me.  Such a beautiful frame John chose!
Thanks for visiting, I’m heading back on the road again soon so I’ll pick up with my journey in my next post.