Monthly Display - July 2018


The Linguist

31 cm x 47 cm, unfixed pastels on paper.
Date produced: 27th July 2017 until 13th September 2017.

One of the pieces I've recently finished (and put quite a lot of time and effort into) is a portrait of my wife, called "The Linguist". I don't often produce portraits, so this piece was an especially interesting challenge.

I wanted to record accurately observed colours and tones within the modelling of the facial features, so I chose to do the portrait using unfixed soft pastels. In this way, the applied pastel would stay the same colour as when I applied it. It would also allow me to work relatively quickly - the pastel didn't need to go through drying times, and I didn't need to constantly mix similar colours; I could use the pre-mixed colours of the pastels I had at hand.

I started the portrait during winter on 27th July 2017, directly from observing my wife in natural light. I arranged the subject so that she was appropriately surrounded by personal objects, she had interesting lighting across her facial features, and she had a particular relaxed expression on her face. I wanted to have her head facing slightly away from my view, and not have her looking directly at me. A photograph of one of the subject's beloved cats is resting on a pile of language reference books, behind her. I feel that having strategically placed personal objects surrounding the subject's face is one way of adding important information about the subject's personality and character. I photographed my wife during the first session as a reference for allowing me to continue on the portrait long after the light and pose had changed. I finished the portrait around the 13th September 2017, about 7 weeks after starting it.

This portrait was successfully entered in the 2017 Prospect Portrait Prize after being framed behind 'art glass', but was not successful in being selected as one of the 22 finalists.



Detail 1:

Carefully observed shapes, tones and colours are used throughout the whole portrait. I spent a lot of time working on her eyes, trying to get the shapes correct, trying to get the right types and amounts of blues, etc.




Detail 2:





Detail 3:





Detail 4:





Detail 5:

I am happy with the colours and tones within the folds of her woolen jacket. The interplay of pinks against greens seems to have become a consistent development throughout this whole piece.




Larger Image:



Monthly Display - July 2018