by KAY JAMIESON
No. 2 Tips on Drawing Portraits Having established some proportions in our portrait we can also think about adding tone, or shadows, ie. the range of light-to-dark areas which help to suggest three dimensions on the flat surface of the paper. It is helpful to make a black and white scale like this...
Shading can be done with a pencil or ball-point in a cross-hatching style or more evenly using a brush with watercolour, or charcoal. Try experimenting with different media.
Notice the direction of the light before shading the features which are in shadow. Note that cast shadows, those that are caused by an obstruction to the light, such as the nose, will have a harder edge than shadows which describe a rounded form like a cheek. Mark the areas of darkest tone (black) then gradually add the two or three mid-tones where necessary, adjusting as you go. If all the shadows are the same tone it will tend to ‘flatten’ the drawing. Remember, you are aiming to create the illusion of forms receding in space.
This passage was originally for Authors Electric in 2013 and celebrates when Kay Jamieson and I 'eloped' to Gretna Green to get married.
Lines Written For an Auspicious Occasion
The summons having woken me, I hied,
Caring no whit for time or even tide,
Toward the north, where Solway runs its course Through Scotia's windy plains where lies its source, Where Devil's Porridge boils, where fields are bleak And Burns the ploughman makes his rough verse speak. My spirits droop as further still I tread,
When suddenly, like Lazarus from his bed, They rise, as Gretna's purlieus do me face.
For here a miracle I see, a blessed place,
A sanctuary, alive with tree and flower,
With many a bubbling stream and bosky bower, Colourful, lush, abundant, leafy, ferny,
Another Hidcote, Sissinghurst, Giverny.
Nature and man together made this scene.
What beauty now? What barb'rousness has been?
But soft. Figures approach. What is their quest? Do they mean harm or are they for the best?
A ministrant? Who to? What does she carry?
A book? A register of those who marry?
Are those her acolytes who shyly pace
And in the tiny belvedere take their place? And why so quiet? Breathlessly they stand. Surely some revelation is at hand?
Yes. Two I had not thought to see draw near
To start a journey set for many a year.
For sure, there's something rakish in their mien. Have they eloped? To here? To Gretna Green? Their tryst is secret. Is it racked with guilt?
Are heirs disowned? Are families split? Blood spilt? Not so. They glory in their escapade,
Proceeding joyfully once their choice was made.
The bride is beautiful in royal blue.
The birds are hushed in awe; the squirrels too Pause in their business as she passes by.
"Did you not see my lady," is their cry,
"Go down the garden smiling?" As her swain, Faithful and loving, free from every strain, Beside her walks, engarbed in sober grey, Savouring this moment, knowing it will stay, The sea doth murmur and the very tide.
On Solway's firth doth turn and softly glide Towards the land to hear the rite, the vow Confirming that, oh yes! they're married now. The ceremony is short. The ministrant's soft, Mellifluous voice sends loving thoughts aloft. Hymen, the god, and Cupid, meddlesome boy, Hasten to Earth to join in all this joy,
To make a fitting end to this great day
And wish all happiness to Dennis and Kay.
To most of us a portrait means a recognisable likeness. We judge a portrait by how well it represents the subject - in looks, manner, character, etc. For an artist this involves keen observation and careful measurement. Is the face round or rectangular? What is the distance from the top of the head to the chin compared with that from ear to ear? Features may be beautifully drawn but if they’re in the wrong place the result is not pleasing. In landscape or still life genres objects can be rearranged to suit the composition but not so in portraiture (unless you are Picasso!)
Once the shape of the face is outlined with vertical centre line and horizontal halfway measurements marked, divide into three sections, the first line indicating eyebrows, the second line the end of the nose. Between the top third and halfway lines is the position of the eyes. The lower third is divided into three to indicate mouth and chin. Ears are generally situated between the brow line and tip of the nose in a frontal view.
Lastly, practice, practice and practice some more.
I hope my portrait drawing tips help you.
The Spice Lounge restaurant kindly offered an overgrown backyard that Kamal immediately saw tremendous potential for. Straight forward gestation...not in the least! After clearing the vegetation, several delays, construction issues (no surprises there) and other hurdles to overcome, a stunning, temporary gallery was erected. Just in time!
Congratulations Kamal and Frauke!
RENTING THIS SPACE SUMMER 2019
LiterArties Kay Jamieson and Dennis Hamley are an artist, author partnership. The beauty of Lake Hayes, Queenstown, New Zealand, inspired Kay to paint her tranquil artwork that, in turn, inspired Dennis to pen a poem.
By Lake Hayes
The sun makes soft shadows on the mountains
Beyond the opposite shore.
Far to our left, beyond the trees, past the town
And across mighty Wakatipu, the shadows are
Sharper, darker and the sun glares
On the jagged Remarkables.
But this is a gentler lake.
Far out on the blue Aotearoan water
A racing four, your granddaughter
Rowing at stroke, practices.
Only the soothing cry of a solitary bell-bird breaks the silence
As we sit companionably together
Under the trees which fringe the water’s edge.
I write and you sketch.
Wooden walkways snake towards us, pause,
Then slide away back into the bush.
Yes, people come here.
But, though a faint roar from far behind us
Says that plane after plane is making
Its approach through the gap in the mountains
Bringing yet more to the honeypot town,
They are not here today.
This scene is archetypal, permanent.
We and the rowers are impertinent intruders.
The lake is for ever.
We are not.
Yet what you and I do as we sketch and write
Will have outcomes.
Fledgling words will seek form,
Questing lines and shapes will strive for unity,
Until they are both complete and satisfying.
So, even if nobody reads them,
Nobody sees them,
They will be for ever too.
LiterArties, people who embrace, explore and capture their creativity in many ways.
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