Well, I finished Yves - his portrait, that is. It was a long time coming, too. I knew I wanted to do his portrait for a while, and so asked him last fall if he would mind my taking some photos of him. He agreed, and then we played tag for a few months until we could get together for a photo session.
Canson 90Lb Drawing paper, Cream
Did I start working on his portrait then? No - I mulled over the photos until I had my choices down to 4 poses from the original 46 : Le prof (The Professor), L'âme douce (the Gentle Soul), Le joyeux homme (The Happy Man), and Le philosophe (The Philosopher). At the beginning Le philosophe was my favourite, but I couldn't make up my mind what medium to use and how I was going to create the portrait. This took another 2 months (it was now almost 6 months since I had first asked his permission).
Then one day at the local art store I happened across a medium while looking for a toothed paper - it's called Fine Tooth Colourfix Primer, and it's made by Art Spectrum in Australia. I couldn't find the shade of paper I wanted, and the store clerk showed me 3 bottles of the medium - in grey, beige and what I thought was white, but actually turned out to be Clear.
Well! It's water soluble, acid free and non-toxic, and applies with a damp craft sponge (you know the ones - black sponge-on-a-stick). It dries down flat, and if you've applied it unevenly it can be sanded, but it's so easy to apply I don't see how you can be heavy handed enough to need to sand it.
The resulting tooth is almost like close-cropped velvet - and SOO easy to use! I was so pleased with the texture I took out my photos, and Le Prof just jumped up and said Paint Me! Paint Me!
I have always been leary of charcoal - it can be quite messy you know? And it's so BLACK. But this medium allowed me to apply the charcoal whisper thin, and blend it with stomps and sable brushes, and apply many many layers - Such Control! And the charcoal lifted quite easily, because it had been applied lightly. Even through repeated sprayings of workable fixative.
I do believe I have fallen in love with charcoal. And I am a huge fan of chiaroscuro, so they go hand in hand.
I'm happy and pleased, and can't wait to do more charcoal :-)