(Update 12/2012: This painting is shortlisted for Portrait of the Year on Making a Mark where you can vote for your favorite until December 30, 6 a.m. PST). One night last winter two UPS guys arrived in the dark to deliver a dozen boxes of the flooring materials for my studio. I had started a series of paintings of people at work (still in progress) and asked if I could take their photo to use for a painting. They agreed and were great models!
A couple of months ago he called, asking about the painting, inspiring me to finally finish it. There were some magic moments along the way (see process photos below), such as the one where I did a quick first pass on his hand and then stepped back and said “Wow! That works and I’m not touching it again.”
Since I took the photos at night without flash outside lit only by the fluorescent lights from inside the studio, the photo was dark and the colors were, well, mostly brown. But the UPS slogan is right, BROWN really does deliver! Who knew there were so many shades of brown? I must have mixed a hundred different browns.
Below are photos showing the process of drawing and painting this portrait. Since drawing is the most critical part of a portrait, I used Photoshop to check my accuracy (or lack thereof). I take a photo of the work in progress and after adjusting the size to match, layer it on top of the reference photo with about 40% transparency so I can see the original photo through the photo of the artwork. Then I add another layer on top and trace over the areas that need correction with a colored line.
If you click on any of the thumbnails you can see a larger image in a side-show format.