Pan Pastels are a great way to work loosely on ideas

Lately I’ve been concentrating on portraits trying to consolidate my ideas & figure out the practical side of things. Using a different medium too for working out the layout and colours. Pan Pastels are great to work loosely with – you apply with a foam tipped little plastic knife.

Studying the colour distribution in Delacroix’s ‘Orphan in the Cemetry’

I worked through Delacroix’s Orphan in the Cemetery a few times in the Pan Pastels, before attempting in oil, it was a huge learning experience for me. I took it way more chromatic than the original, and did very little blending, but that was just to help me identify his colour and forms better, the features kind of floated around a bit as I took swipes with different colours, but I don’t mind that.

Oil on paper copy of Delacroix painting ‘Orphan in the Cemetery.

Finding my photographs to be very flat and hard to work from, I’ve invested in a compact flash system primarily to get more modelling form, but also to expand on the ideas I have for environmental portraits. It’s an easier task to light a still life setting with a few continuous lights, you are working from life and the eye kindly forgives the differences in colour temperatures to some extent. With the flash, I’m working on creating lighting compositions – digital sketches – so the focus of the portrait will have distinct meaning. Well that’s the hope anyhow.