Charcoal Portraits


Since this blog post was first written in 2011, I’ve found myself doing more drawings with Charcoal. I often do a 10 – 20 minute charcoal drawing in my Moleskine sketchbook if I’m warming up for a portrait.

I’m best known for my watercolours of cityscapes, landscapes and seascapes. However, I’ve painted a number of portrait commissions, going back to the mid 1980’s. I’ve recently found myself being drawn back to the artistic challenge of capturing people’s portraits from life. This particular drawing of my mother-in-law Margaret was made over three sittings in Charcoal. It was a preliminary study for an oil painting that can be seen below.

Oil Portraits

The oil painting took four sittings and I have to say that Margaret was a lovely model to paint. She was able to sit motionless for a couple of hours at a time. She had beautiful features that were a delight to paint. Her family and those who knew her say that both pictures are a very good likeness and that I really captured her personality.

Portrait Painting in Oils

Again, since this writing this blog post, I did manage to do a couple more oil paintings of Margaret. Sadly she passed away in 2014 from breast cancer.

Moleskine Sketchbook

You can read about the benefits of regular drawing and painting in this recent article that I was asked to contribute to. There are also a number of other blog posts which I’ve written that describe in more detail the benefits of drawing. You can watch a number of time lapse videos on my Instagram account that I’ve drawn using Charcoal.

When using Charcoal, you must remember to spray fixative over your drawing when you have finished. If you don’t you will find that your drawing will smudge in no time at all.

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