Portrait Painting from Life, Podi Lawrence

Tuesday 9th April 2013  



Podi Lawrence invited Ian to be seated and adjusted his position for maximum effect for the portrait she was about to paint in oils during her brief demonstration to the BAFA knowledgeable audience over a short period of 2 hours. “The first important thing” she said “is to ensure that the subject matter and the canvas are on view without the Artist having to turn their head. Ian is not allowed to fall asleep during the sitting, so I will allow a stretch whilst mixing colours”.

Blobs of paint from light to dark were placed on the palette, with lots of white and Ian stretched. Lighting cast a shadow across his face which helped to define his features. Proportions of the male or female head are exactly the same, it is size of head that differs.

The canvas was ready with a green base coat and a week mix of Cerulean blue was used to sketch in facial features. Podi took an “air” measurement with her brush to define size and placed marks on the canvas denoting the top of Ian’s head and then one for the chin and then two more for the side. A horizontal line was placed half way down and then she positioned the eyes. A vertical curve placed down the centre of the face should accurately define the nose and mouth positions.

With dabs and strokes of colour Podi started with the Iris, then shaped the eye lids, the base of the nose, top lip and shadow under the bottom lip and chin. Then she blocked in the shaded areas not forgetting Ian’s hair. With the under painting now complete Ian’s face started to come to life. It was time to take a break.

With the relaxed sitter repositioned, Podi with a palette now complete with colour shades and skin tones deftly added depth to the portrait. A final touch of white with a smidgen of Cerulean blue reflected a sparkle in the eyes and the master piece was complete. Ian now was able to step down off the podium to admire the finished product and congratulate Podi on a portrait well done.

Written by Les Riley, Photos by Clare Tebboth 

Photos by Clare Tebboth & Les Riley