Saturday, September 11, 2010

Frankie Portrait in Oils - a personal piece

Frankie - Oil on Gessobord, 4.5" x 6.5"
It doesn't take much for an artist to find an excuse to try something new, and so when I read about a painting competition whose deadline for submissions was coming up soon I was inspired to paint this piece to enter. Gamblin Oil Paints holds the competition each year, and the rules are very simple - each painting must be essentially a value study done using only Gamblin Torrit Grey oil paint, plus black and white. Torrit grey is a unique promotional colour made available by the company each spring. It is made with pigments collected from their air filtration system - taking pigments that otherwise would simply be disposed of and recycling them back into paint. The colour is slightly different each year because of the different mix of pigments collected, but it's always some shade of grey since that's what you get when you mix all the pigments in the colour spectrum together!

Though I had heard about this competition before I had never entered. I very rarely paint in oils, though I do enjoy it, but it requires more patience and a somewhat different way of working than what is natural for me. It's definitely a bit 'out of my comfort zone' so to speak, but that can reap benefits in terms of learning too. I looked for a reference photo I thought would work well in a monochromatic painting, one which had lots of subtle value changes that would suit the 3-colour format. Frankie, being a blue Beardie, fit the bill perfectly, and this particular photo of her has always been one of my favourites. I'm pleased with how it turned out, and I quite enjoyed the process. In fact I've begun a second painting to enter in the competition. Stay tuned!

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