Commission of Neil Snr by Marlene Millard
Commission 'Neil Senior' for Neil Lucas by Marlene Millard
WIP # 1 - 3hrs :15 mins
The client requested an artwork approximately 70 x 50 cm.
Reference photo supplied by client. I needed to request further photos of Neil Senior as I was unable to see his facial features in the original photo.
As there was quite a lot to this scene and the original photo was of poor quality, I used a grid to sketch the scene onto layout paper first.
WIP # 2 - 5hrs :25 mins
The pastel surface for this artwork is Archival Clairefontaine Pastelmat and I choose a light grey colour to compliment the subject. After transferring from the layout to the pastel surface, it's time to start pastelling.
The client has requested to keep a rustic feel to the scene. I start with the sky first. Then the distant vegetation and the older building behind the main shed.
The main shed and water tank comes next, so I can then start on the mans' head and shoulders.
I then cross back over to the old timber fences associated with the old building and I start on the bushy tree inside the sheep yards.
WIP # 3 - 6hrs :10 mins
I work around the tank a bit more, revisit the old timber fence again, touch up the bushy tree and then start on the sheep!
They are basically just shapes of tone; so I just have to get the right tonal shapes in the right positions. I normally work from back to front, but in this occasion I work on the main sheep at the front of the flock first. In this way I can get them the correct size and then work out the perspective of the sheep (or tonal blobs) behind them. The sheep were fairly time consuming.
I only work a small amount on the sheep on the left and I work a little on the fence.
With the sheep now behind the man, I can work more on the shirt, neck and arm.
Before I finish for the day I add in part of the steel frame of the gate on the right - that's just a psychological thing I'll often do at the end of a days session, to keep an overall perspective and as a starter point for tomorrow.
WIP # 4 - 5hrs :40 mins
Today I start on what's behind the sheep and fencing on the left. I revisit the main shed just for some touch ups. Once I have the sheep underway I can then work more on the mans shirt and his right arm. Working downwards I get the ground colour happening, put a bit more shadow under the sheep and then work on all the fencing on the left of the man. Rustic posts, rails and hints of wire.
I revisit and do a little refining of all the sheep.
An exciting part is to capture the way the light hits the mans trousers, so before I finish for the day I just have to start on that, ready for tomorrow.
IP # 5 - 1hrs :35 mins
A shorter session today.
Firstly I revisit the shirt, adding a bit more detail to the folds and shadows.
The fences and grass on the left of the scene are refined a bit more.
I then work on the ground again to make it look more rough as if lots of little hooves have been trampling there. I also work on the drafting gate and roughen up the post and rails with some more detail.
I finish the gate on the right of the man by making the rustic steel look round and by adding a hint of cyclone wire to it.
The exciting part now is to finish the trousers with that sharp light.
WIP # 6 - 0hrs :30 mins
After consultation with the client, I adjust the face to give a darker complexion.
I then measure the outline of the artwork and put registration marks in the corners for the picture framer; this is so the matting is positioned exactly where I want it to be. I sign my name in the bottom right corner with a bronze Prismacolour pencil.
The last, but very important job is to 'set' the pastel. I cover the artwork with a thick tissue paper and very carefully roll over it with a wooden rolling pin. This presses the pastel down into the surface and also removes loose pastel dust. I do this a multitude of times using fresh paper each time. For this artwork I roll it eleven times before I am happy.
After 22 hrs and 35 mins I introduce "Neil Senior"
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