After spending so much time on my finicky Cup and Lemon Painting which took lots of phases to complete, all I wanted to do was let rip with an expressive charcoal 'something'; quick and easy and fun. Why I ended up processing a realistic homage to a Rembrandt self-portrait doesn't seem to make sense at first, but I started this work, loose and free, attempting to capture the basic form and likeness and then it just became more and more closely aligned with the original in all its aspects. I was working from an A4 size photograph of the painting on to an A2 piece of cartrdige paper. I wanted 'big' so I could free myself up from the rigours of painting on small formats, but I hit a snag, and I learned a lot from this. I was aware from the start that this up-scaling of the original would be challenging but I didn't know how just how demanding an exercise it would be. I couldn't get it exact, and Rembrandt's nose is wrong, but practice and investigation of rendering accurate proportions and measurements will get me there eventually. What I found hugely interesting was just how dramatic and stark Rembrandt's values are in contrast to one another. His darks are really dark and it took hours of standing back and saying to myself "nope - it needs more cross-hatching there" and then standing back again and finding out that even more shading was necessary. I'm leaving it alone now as there is just too much charcoal on the paper to make any adjustments. Another nice part of this experiment was not having brushes and palettes to clean up. Lordy, I'm getting lazy. Now, off to vacuum the charcoal dust of the carpet.
"Rembrandt Portrait - Variation I"
Charcoal & White Pencil on Cartridge Paper - 16.5" x 23.5"