Nguni Portrait – Ink on paper, A3 200gsm.
I had the opportunity recently to paint cows again for a commissioned ink work, which is now in its home in Hermanus enjoying the ocean air.
Some notes on the process:
- A fairly rough sketch in 5B pencil on some paper to warm up and have a better look at the image – hey bingo, a separate artwork (below).
- Plot the basic lines in 2H pencil on the A3 paper using a light box (read: my window) and the reference image for proportion accuracies.
- Ink time! Start with large areas of washes in very watered down ink where the darkest areas/shadows lie in the image.
- Work on layers, painting smaller areas but darker shades, building up the details.
- Use your finest paintbrush, add the detailed finishing lines, like lashes and stray hairs.
- Hey pesto. Nguni portrait done 🙂
All images are © Amy Slatem.
I’ve had my Wacom (Intuos Pro Medium) for about 2 months now but it’d taken till last night only for me to finally sit down and start working on a digital painting. I’ve been using the Wacom at work when I can, mostly just for logos and deep-etching, and very occasionally some illustrative work. It’s like a Ferrari having to drive at 60…
So last night’s practice was much needed for me to start figuring out just some of the powers of the tablet-Photoshop partnership.
I started with the portrait by finding an image I liked, added some layers, base colours, cool brushes, more layers, help from a knowledgeable friend, colour accents, details, more layers, and this is as far as I got for now… Consider this a work in progress/ abandoned art.
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I wanted to have a go at a “live painting” recording by doing a short one of a quick figurative ink painting. Unfortunately I couldn’t get the whole painting process recorded because I don’t have my tripod with me in Joburg and had to make an alternative plan with the camera set-up… which worked for the duration of this vid before the camera fell off its make-shift perch (the camera made it out unscathed, don’t worry).
But I’ll need to work on that and getting better video editing programs, so don’t take this video too seriously, but rather as a work in progress/first attempt.
Below is the finished piece, with another portrait work from earlier this morning:
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My painting space in my lounge.Final painting. “Oh My…”. Oil on canvas. 29.5 x 42.5 cm
Oh my… What big teeth you have.
Perhaps not the most impressive painting ever, but I had the urge play with my large collection of paint brushes and fill the room with the smells of oil paint and turps again. This was more a practice than anything as I had a canvas to use which I’d painted over in burnt umber to hide the previous failed painting from earlier this year. I wanted to see what it’s like painting over such a heavy base coat. Not very easy it turns out, far too dark, especially for such a light skin over coat.
I chose an advert out a glossy mag to practice portraiture some more, biggest mistake was choosing one with visible teeth… don’t do it, especially if she has a huge gap. Fail, but at least the photos make this painting look more presentable haha.