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“Run!” – Acrylic Portrait

The continuing look at my latest series of portraits. This one is entitled Run! and is acrylic on stretched canvas. 16″x20″. I like that size because it’s big enough to really get into a painting but common enough that framing isn’t an issue. You can easily buy frames off the shelf. Having bought custom frames for my work, I know it can cost more than the painting itself. So I keep that in mind when I paint. See how nice I am? You should buy my work!

*ahem* Anyway… Run! is another extreme closeup portrait that took me several painting sessions to get finished. So this means, more in progress photos! Yay!

In this series I’m back to fast and loose and working quickly. I start in the dark with a projected image but it’s only to set up the painting.  The photo below is the most I do and then the lights go on and the real fun begins. This just allows me to skip the whole leaning to the left issue I’ve been struggling with. I’ve only used it on this series but I have to admit it gives me a sense of freedom from gridding out a painting or trying to correct a technical issue in the middle of a painting.

Once the lights go on, I start painting in earnest. Free flowing and looking for the feels. That’s a technical term, btw. Feels. I wish I could say I invented it but sadly, no.

I always start establishing major light and dark areas. In this painting in particular, the face had interesting angles I wanted to bring out but at the same time avoid making a caricature.

A lot of the differences between the shots start becoming subtle as the painting comes together. look for shadows that look like holes and knock them down. I look for highlights that aren’t highlight-y enough and bring them up. All the time I’m trying to avoid too much flat grey.

Looking above and below, you can see the shadows being pushed into place. One thing I find interesting, and difficult about painting men is the hint of beard. It affects shading and should be present at the same time that painting it in too much flattens the area around the mouth. I played with the tones around the mouth quite a bit trying to find a happy medium.

Now the differences are even more subtle and I took a lot of photos at this stage to help stay on target.

And the final painting. Run! Still on the easel. I love the intensity around the eyes. The feeling of a moment in time. One of my favourite paintings from this series.

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