View Full Version : Mai - Portrait WIP

08-20-2013, 06:40 AM
Now that I have my own studio, I finally have the space to play around. I had always wanted to try out preparing my own support and had already bought all the necessary ingredients. For the gesso/pumice mixture I am using a recipe from Richard McKinley's book 'Pastel pointers' and the canvas-like structure comes from Ellen Eagle's gorgeous new book 'Pastel painting atelier'. She is the most wonderful portraitist and this kind of support gives her pastel paintings a very special quality. This support is fairly easy to make and a great alternative to the ready-made papers.
I painted the board with diluted warm gray acrylic paint; again this came from Ellen Eagle's book - thank you, Ellen!
This is a portrait of my mother-in-law, who was 78 when I took the reference photo - hope I'll look half as good at that age!

1. The sketch


2. The main masses and colours; the paper grabs the colour really well. At this stage the canvas-like structure is still very visible


3. Working on the face; the tooth is filling up slowly


4. Nearly finished - now's the time for integrating all the helpful suggestions you're going to give me. Think I won't touch the face; I'm quite happy with it as it is. Should I work some more on the jacket? My husband thinks the colour(though matching the one in the photo) is too intense. What do you think?


08-20-2013, 09:34 AM
Dorotheaa - I'm impressed, what a great Demo of this technique! Your new studio has definitely got the 'creativity' levels right!:thumbsup:

Terry Wynn
08-20-2013, 11:25 AM
Lovely. Wouldn't change a thing.


08-20-2013, 11:28 AM
Deidre, thank you! I think I'll prepare a few more boards, I really like this 'woven' impression they give.
Thank you, Terry!

08-20-2013, 05:35 PM
I really like how the support shows through and adds to the texture of the painting. I think the colour of the jacket is fine. My feeling is that if you lightened it, it would blend into the background. Thank you for the info on the ground and your WIP. Bob

08-20-2013, 05:39 PM
You're welcome, Bob! Yes, the texture is really interesting, isn't it? A friend of mine thought it looked more like an oil than a pastel!

Equus Art
08-20-2013, 07:43 PM
This is simple and beautiful! I love the textured ground.


mr sad
08-20-2013, 09:47 PM
WIPs are always so helpful and valuable. Thank you for posting yours. I think the only recommendation I could make, humbly, is to add just a touch of light to her eye.

water girl
08-20-2013, 09:58 PM
Just lovely! The lighting on your subject adds a gentleness and I really like the texture.

08-20-2013, 11:04 PM
Looks wonderful - thanks for showing us the WIP :)


08-21-2013, 01:12 AM
Kat, Paul, Karen, Nicole, thank you all, I'm glad you like it. Both my husband and my daughter find it an excellent likeness and are very pleased with it!

08-21-2013, 05:03 AM
Dorothea, this is wonderful!....and finished IMO. I love the texture but most of all the way you've used it. The rosy cheek which is smoother and the subtle dark line by the far edge of the nose really add depth. Great work!

08-21-2013, 08:08 AM
Ruthie, thank you! You know I love your portraits, so praise coming from you is doubly welcome.:wave:

Sarah Dowson
08-21-2013, 09:13 AM
A lovely portrait of a rather beautiful elderly lady. I really like the colours and the texture showing through. I hope you have many hours of fun in your new studio!

08-21-2013, 09:46 AM
Thank you, Sarah; I intend to! My mother-in-law does look good for her age; during the Fifties she worked as a part-time model to finance her studies. It still shows!

08-21-2013, 09:57 AM
good info/influences for making your own support .
the texture and colouring have a distinctive look for your work .

is the hair finished ?
if so , then the mass and intensity of the blue in shadow are distracting and feels ' heavy ' to me .

agree with you about Ellen Eagle - a fine portrait pastellist .
you might enjoy seeing Sam Goodsell 's work ... :)


08-21-2013, 10:10 AM
Hi Ed, thank you for introducing me to Sam Goodsell's work. I just looked him up and like his work a lot. He really goes big with his pastels!

08-21-2013, 06:38 PM
The painting is great! Thanks for sharing the stages. I envy the studio. I only do pastels at my weekly class because I really do not have a good place to work at home. Pam :wave:

08-21-2013, 11:52 PM
Wonderful portrait, I also like the texture and the simpilcity

08-22-2013, 12:00 AM
Beautiful portrait Dorothea! I love it just the way it is, the jacket is wonderful, great color, don't change a thing! I could never use that much texture when doing a portrait, you did a wonderful job, this looks amazing!

08-22-2013, 01:54 AM
Pam, thank you;hope you'll find a way to organize a work place at home. Perhaps just use a set up as for a plein-air session with field easel and travel box?
Deanna, thank you! The rough texture of the support really helps you to loosen up and not get lost in too many details.
Christine, I'm so glad you like it; you know I am a great admirer of yours! If you like it then I must have it right!:)

08-23-2013, 07:27 PM
Well, my mother-in-law has now seen a photo of her portrait and guess what she said? 'I'm sure it's very well painted - but it shows my BIG nose!':rolleyes: In-laws!!

08-24-2013, 10:23 AM
Love that rosy cheek! This is lovely. Also, thanks for sharing this - what a cool support. I might have to try that one day, because the effect is really interesting.

08-24-2013, 03:07 PM
Hi Grinner, glad you like it! You should try to prepare your own support, it's fun to do and something completely different to work with!

08-24-2013, 11:02 PM
Dorothea, this is a wonderful expressive painting! I wouldn't change a thing it is just lovely.

08-25-2013, 01:40 AM
Jen, thank you!:wave: