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Saturday, October 31, 2015


PORTRAITS WITH CAROLE MASSEY

Carole started her demonstration by pointing out that the skull is basically box shaped and facial features are related to underlying bone structure e.g. the eyebrow ridge and jaw. She then showed how to measure guidelines and angles to get the proportions of features correct. The character is added afterwards.

Carole starts with a drawing in dark pencil then uses sanguine, dark brown and white to build up tones and emphasise features.

 She usually starts her  portrait by drawing the eyes . In an adult the eye-line is halfway down the face. She then measures the distance from pupil to pupil and draws in the eyes. The gap between the eyes is equal to the width of the eye although a child's eyes are wider apart. The irises are put in next. The top eyelid cuts through the iris and is more curved while the iris sits on the bottom lid. Finally the curves of the lids are added.

Next with careful measuring ( See Diagram Below) the position of the nose, eyebrows and mouth are drawn in. It is best to avoid teeth if possible and individual lines of teeth. The mouth often tilts so use the line of the eyes and measure to the corners of the mouth.

Carole was using a photograph and working life-size from it. If this isn't the case the image can be transferred by tracing, using a grid or using Tracedown paper.

Areas that are two small to measure have to be judged by eye.

The curve of the cheek and chin are drawn in using careful measuring and then the ear placed on the head. To do this measure from the start of the ear lobe to the corner of the nostril. The distance should equal the distance from the outer corner of one eye to the outer corner of the other. The hair is drawn in next.

Finally shading is done using white for the highlights to get the character and likeness of the subject - in this case Professor Brian Cox.

Carole was working on the smoother side of Contes paper. She uses Derwent pencils and the colours she uses for these and for paints and pastel pencils include dark brown, sanguine, raw sienna, cadmium red and Naples yellow. Alizarin red, burnt sienna and cobalt blue and sometimes purple are used for shadows. When painting in acrylics Carole outlines the face then underpaints in ochre or a similar colour then blocks in the main colours.

Finally this fascinating evening ended with a flourish as Carole produced a brilliant portrait which she had previously fully completed of her famous subject.


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