I don’t do commissions especially from photographs but…

I made an exception in this case…

maew original

And I’m not now sure why! But anyway, I looked at the photo and made a couple of charcoal sketches and centralised the head within the picture which, as far as I’m concerned, is the part that matters most…

Maew original plus 1

Maew original plus 2

And then proceeded to paint. I have never seen the model in real life. All I have to go on is this photograph. I would have preferred a more serious pose which I think (although Franz Hals might not have agreed!) is more fitting: human dignity and all that…

So I roughed in the contours and forms as best I could (by the way, not being able to see stuff in the round does make an enormous difference…) and arrived at this initial study:

Maew original plus 3

Then I left this to dry for a few weeks. (By the way, I should mention that I originally worked on two canvases and this one turned out better than the other so I kept this one and abandoned the other.)

As the oil paint was sufficiently dry I began work again wanting to finish the piece…

Maew original plus 4

Even though I signed it I was not fully happy with it and did some more work which resulted in this:

Maew original plus 5

For me, bearing in mind the limitations previously mentioned, (specifically, never having seen the person in the flesh,) this is about the best I could do.

For me this is a problem, this copying of photographs by hand. And that is why I don’t do commissions.

If anybody has any constructive criticism (nothing petty please) to give, I would appreciate hearing it. Thanks! Peter



    1. Thanks Paula. The subject didn’t look right balance-wise with the weight of the head all over one side as per the photo. So I centralised the head in the painting. [Edit: That is, I centralised (as best as was possible) the eyes… which as you know are the gateway to the soul (of the subject.) Peter.]

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