by Kirk Lybecker
The first thing is to take a look at yourself. I do not do this much so I thought I would take a look at some of the things that I liked in other portraits. I was interested in the movie posters of film noir. They had odd lighting angles. I really liked some of the pictures of Frankenstein. One of the things that I did not want is the classic photographic portrait where there are lights in front only.
The second thing is to get a good look at the victim. I have a real good camera that has auto-focus and can have a good depth of field. The shots were hand held with a little help from having done a lot of them. I also used Photoshop to take a better look at the image. I also shot several to take some of the things that I like from each .
The usual approach is to start with a brush on wash of paint and turpentine. That should dry fairly quickly. I tend to build the interesting parts first. I l can and do fail at some of these projects and would not mind doing some things over as I enjoy them. So do the eyes first and the hair last.
Most of the first painting is done with a regular brush. This allows a faster build up. I tend to do this with softer brushes. That does make the paint blend a little better. The paint is walnut oil based paint from M.Graham. The paint does dry a little slower, not that it matters much to me because I am a lot slower than the paint.
The real fun comes with the airbrush. I start with an Eclipse CS brush using the .5 mm nozzle and needle. The Eclipse is a very good brush for this type of paint as it is easier to clean and is less sensitive to thicker paint. I prefer to thin the paint with a little turpentine as necessary. Most of the use of this brush is for background and for the general shading of the face.
When it comes to doing the more refined modeling and detail work I use the Custom Micron C+. This has the ability to shadow the wrinkles. I also use the brush to put very thin coats of some of the more specialized colors. I find that for shadows on my skin tone that violet works as a light shadow color. I also use the micron to do some of the out of focus hairs (I have a lot of them).
The background in this painting is my easel. I did some little conceits of water drops and some dimensional color chips that are from other paintings.
Now all I have to do is to wait for a few months to do the varnish coat. After that I think I will build a box to keep it in so that it won’t be looking over my shoulder.