Portrait of Mordechai

Mordechai Portrait complete

Find out about the experimental approach I took with this portrait of my oldest son
I had wanted to paint a portrait of my son Mordechai for some time, and a few weeks ago I managed to set aside a day to have a go. I was interested in using collaged newspaper in the background, and leaving areas of the portrait unresolved to allow the background to show through. This technique was more of a concern for me than getting an exact likeness and realistic colours. I also wanted to use my oil bars, a delicious media which I hadn’t used for some time.
Mod portrait background

I began by sticking down strips of newspaper and then tearing the edges to soften them. I then laid down bold brushstrokes of cerulean blue and purple acrylic paint, shot through with white. I used acrylic as it dries quickly and I had limited time.
I then started on the portrait with oil paint and oil bars. I blocked in the main areas, thinking about tone more than colour. I spent quite a lot time on Mordechai’s left eye as I wanted this to be the focus of the piece, with other areas less detailed. Developing the portrait more I worked on the hair and the neck, building tone. I then quickly sketched in the shoulders, just hinting at areas of shadow. Finally I deepened the negative space around the face to throw it forward.
Mod portrait in progress

I really enjoyed the bold and experimental approach which I found very liberating. I love the effect of the text showing through in places, and the energy of the sketched body - sometimes the best parts are those that are done quickly and aren’t deadened by fussing. The portrait is a lot more effeminate than the real life Mordechai, but I wasn’t troubled by this as I was pleased with the way the face turned out and achieved my objectives.
Mod portrait me

And Mordechai was pleased with the portrait too, which is always a bonus!