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Beaming Beth – a smiling child portrait in watercolour

Beaming Beth – a smiling child portrait in watercolour

Beautiful Beth was a little more of a challenge to paint than her sister Anna, as her big smile gives me another detail to paint – her teeth!

They can be difficult to paint, as I found with one of my self-portraits – giving myself a denture-like set of gnashers that was tricky to correct.

I think I pulled it off here – with watercolour it’s not too difficult to add the gentlest suggestion of shadow – assuming the shape is convincing enough.

She looks happy – so I’m happy!

Beth - smiling child portrait in watercolour by Debra Wenlock

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Watercolour child portrait – Anna

Watercolour child portrait – Anna

After a few days break in daily painting and daily posting I’m back with a watercolour portrait of Anna.

Watercolour seems to be the perfect choice when it comes to painting children.

It’s really important to keep the painting as simple as possible when portraying youth… no unnecessary lines or shadows and a minimal number of layers of paint – the skin must appear to glow.

I had a great subject and hope that I have successfully captured her character!

Anna - watercolour child portrait by Debra Wenlock

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Downton Portraits – Lady Edith and Lady Sybil

Another double dose of Downton Portraits!

I haven’t been feeling well for the last couple of days and painting felt like too much of an effort…
but I couldn’t actually keep away from my drawing board and I found that, although I didn’t have patience for paint, I did still want to draw.

My short bursts of creativity did perk me up and at least let me feel I had accomplished something!

Lady Sybil, Downton portrait sketch by Debra WenlockLady Edith, Downton portrait sketch by Debra Wenlock

These two portraits were made in oil pastel on oil painting paper, so I could pull out my oil paints when I’m feeling better or for speed stick with acrylic paint for a mixed media finish.

I’ll add the completed Downton portrait paintings here when they are done.

 

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Mary, Mary – Double Downton

Mary, Mary

Had a bit of a Downton day yesterday and grabbed an old pic of the three Crawley sisters from an early series of Downton Abbey. I had in mind that I wanted to create a Fauve style portrait – Lady Mary Crawley looked just the job! I set off with my oil pastel to make a nice bold face, just using the image as a starting point… Oh yeah!
Loved painting in the loosely grand backdrop.

Slapped on some skin tones and was pleased with a passing likeness.

Then got absorbed, a little too comfy, and too precious. Couldn’t resist trying to get it just right….

Well – Mary was all scanned last night and ready to face the world first thing this morning… except when I got up this morning I thought she looked a bit too grumpy and set about turning the corners of her mouth upwards – just a bit, mind.

Well, I’ve done it now, and that wee tweek of the corners of the mouth has gone and become a whole lipstick makeover. Lady Mary is morphing into Lady Sybil (no bad thing, if you think about it) and probably influenced by the fact that I also began a painting of Lady Sybil last night at bedtime?

Now I’m doubting Downton was a good move.

Here they both are –

Lady Mary Crawley, acrylic & oil pastelLady Mary Crawley acrylic & oil pastel by Debra Wenlock

What do you think – which is more Mary?

 

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A Family Face

A Family Face – Remembering Auntie with a Portrait

Auntie Jean, oil pastel portrait by Debra Wenlock

A few months ago my Uncle asked if I could paint him a picture of his late wife and I collected some photographs from him for the likeness.

None of them really stood out as being ‘just’ Jean though and I worried about it for a while, despite being flattered that he had honored me with the task.

This month of portrait painting feels like the time that I must set my nervousness aside and get on with it!

So I started yesterday, gently stroking a softly coloured page with my oil pastels, just letting myself enjoy the colouring process and spending a nice afternoon with my Auntie.

I enjoyed remembering her smile and I loved the subtle blend of colours that emerged.

I’m not sure if my pastel portrait is quite Jean either, but we’ll see what my family make of it and I plan to try a watercolour too…

 

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Helen and Michael – vintage car portrait in gouache and oil pastel

Helen and Michael – vintage car portrait in gouache and oil pastel

Sitting in the recently restored Riley vintage car after it’s very first outing (if not under it’s own steam quite yet!)

Helen and Michael - Motoring, Vintage Car portrait by Debra Wenlock

Sketched in oil pastel and coloured with gouache… An unusual pairing of media, but I like to experiment.

* Update 24th October 2014

Eventually the car itself was painted orange, which gave me licence to add some complementary colour to this portrait and a glimmer of a glow to the faces – I think it worked well!

The car certainly goes magnificently – having completed a 1000 mile trip round Ireland in September 🙂

Riley TT Sprite in Bantry with Debra Wenlock

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Oil Pastel Portrait of Martin

Oil Pastel Portrait of Martin

Our friend Martin called round to loan us some old photographs to scan for a book project and was recruited to be photographed for portrait reference images.
He obliged most graciously even stricking a pose when I suggested that I hoped to put as much fun into my project as possible.

A little more tricky to capture than a straightforward view – but I’m pleased with the outcome – and I think I have achieved a likeness!

Martin - oil pastel portrait by Debra Wenlock

When drawing on a mid-toned ground I usually start by picking out the highlights in the image – this time the hair and highlights on the brow, cheeks and nose, before investigating features and the darkest areas of shadow… Then comes the colour and finally a few refinements.

The best part is when I start to recognise the character – and hopefully I have locked a little Martin glee into this piece!

 

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A Portrait in Green

Happy St Patrick’s Day!

It feels like a good day to share my recent portrait painting in oils of Catherine. Her colourful outfit in green, yellow and red, was rather obscured by the profile view – but I enjoyed painting this vibrant green and I just loved the hat.

Portrait in Green by Debra Wenlock

I began to block in the colours and shapes of architectural detail and easels to create a contrasting backdrop. Unfinished as yet, but this was the result at the end of a three hour sitting…

Portrait in Green by Debra Wenlock

Catherine is an English girl who’s made her home in Northern Ireland – just like me!

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