Two inky portraits of WWII veterans

I have taken the liberty of basing these portraits on two wonderful photographs of Brian David Stevens of WWII veterans (if Mr Stevens ever gets to see this I hope he doesn’t mind; the portraits are not for sale). I have always felt great respect for those who have had to confront more difficult times than me, and here is a small tribute to those that, through the individual or collective madness of others, had to go through the terrible times of WWII.


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Some 15 min sketches inflicted today on volunteers

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15 minute sketches done with pencil from volunteer bystanders at the town hall in Madrid, today. Good practice and thoroughly enjoyable.

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Two portrait exercises

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Two exercises done recently from photographs of models. The first one was done in charcoal, and the second one in watercolour. This was my response to a challenge by Facebook group “Retartistas”, in which the coordinator sets exercises for the group to tackle as best we can. My own efforts, shown above, did not achieve too much of a likeness; that is something that still eludes me, I’m afraid, but we can only keep trying! Not unhappy with the results, in spite of the missing likeness. As usual, comments and critique more than welcome.

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The portraitist portrayed!

My friend Manuel recently painted a portrait of me (see previous post). Here is my revenge! I am not so honest as he is, so I am not going to display him posing with his portrait. There is a certain resemblance between portrait and sitter, but I am still baffled about this issue of achieving a decent likeness; I wonder if I will ever learn! Winsor&Newton watercolours on Arches paper. Comments and critique welcome, as usual!


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Spitting Image


On this occasion we’ll give a twist to the meaning of “Portrait of a Friend”. The portrait above is not mine (well, it is, as I own it!); rather, it is a portrait of me (as the sitter) painted by my friend Manuel Melero, a very gifted artist, as you can see. I think I look a bit older in the portrait than in real life, but maybe that is just my wishful thinking. In any case, he has really caught me, much better than I have been able to do in the modest efforts that have been posted here previously. Now it is my turn to paint him; I hope I manage a likeness half as good as this one!


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Simonetta, on her graduation day


Simonetta was three when I first met her; yes, time flies! I remember how she hid behind her mom when I said “Hello!”. Recently she graduated in Political Sciences, and I painted this, a reasonable likeness (could do no better) to commemorate the fact. With love, Simo, this is for you!

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No friend of mine, this one. It is the result of my efforts during a masterclass on watercolour portraiture by the very gifted Juan Lobatón, that I attended last weekend. The likeness is decent. It is actually a lot easier to achieve a reasonable likeness of people with strongly marked facial features, as was the case here. The class was not only informative and great fun, I also met a lot of new friends there. As usual, comments and critique welcome.

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Twitter Friend


My last post this year (today is 30th Dec 2014). I hope that next year I will be able to post more regularly. To all of you who read this (precious few I fear), I wish you all a very happy new year 2015!

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Doppelgaenger, version #2

IMGP3094 Another attempt at a self-portrait, this time executed in monochrome using Payne’s grey only. Ok, I know, I could work at this a bit longer and get it to a more finished state, but it may get too overworked and I prefer to leave it as it is. Portraits continue to be a complete mystery to me: a wrong touch here or there and you can completely spoil whatever meagre likeness you might have accomplished, or, more rarely (at least in my case), suddenly make a decent likeness magically appear where there wasn’t one. Here there is some resemblance to yours truly, at least I think so, though not everyone who has seen it agrees. Anyway, definitely a better likeness than I got in Doppelgaenger #1 below. Done directly in front of the mirror, first a pencil sketch and then watercolour. One of these days I will try again using colour. Comments and critique welcome!

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A pair of new friends with whom I’ve already been to a few places (mixed media, ink and watercolour)


About a year ago I posted an attempt at painting a pair of old friends; I still use them but only in dry weather. These are the new friends that have taken over the responsibility of taking me places, especially when the weather is not so dry. It is my first serious experiment at working with ink and watercolour, and I loved the experience. I first made a preliminary drawing with pencil, then inked it in with a thin nib. Thicker lines and black washes were done with ink and a brush, and finally I coloured the background and the leathery parts with watercolour. Sorry for the unfrequent posting of late; I’ll try to keep it up at a more regular pace! Hope you like it. As usual, comments, critique or offers to buy (ha!) welcome!

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