This week I have finished drawing in the details of Mr. Patterson's portrait. I used the "blow up" of his face as a reference to put in as much detail as I could, then studied the intricate designs of his sweater to add interest.
At this point, I like to walk away from the drawing for a day, maybe work on another project, ( or go to work at my real job that pays the bills! )then come back and look at it "fresh". This way, I might notice something that I might want to change before I start painting.
Please don't be fooled into thinking I am such an organized and methodic person! I have developed this process the way I learn everything: I make mistakes and figure it out! (just ask anyone who has ever had me as an art student!)
Note: In order to add to the "content" of the portrait, it helps to have some background knowledge of the subject. For instance, if you were painting a small boy, adding a baseball glove and hat tells the viewer something about him. This makes the painting interesting even to people who don't know the subject. With Mr. Patterson's portrait, I took the idea that he is from New Zealand and incorporated details into the painting. Wool is a major source of income for many New Zealanders, and although Dave is a retired truck driver, he and his family did have sheep on thier farm. I emphasized the "Fuzzles" on his sweater to represent the soft, warm wool, and exaggerated the folds to make the viewer imagine what it might feel like to wear such a big, comfy, sweater.
I used masking fluid to save these fuzzies, so they will appear to catch the warm sun coming over his shoulder. I didn't use large areas of masking, only the fine details that are hard to paint around using a very small brush.
Now, I can begin painting!
I think it is important to share our process with others, just as we gain from watching other artists work.