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I am terribly limited for willing volunteers to sit for me, as I have my son home for Christmas I will try to use him for this next exercise.  The brief asks us to decide before we start, what we are trying to achieve, so as my son has been very poorly with flu over Christmas, I want to try to portray this “down” feeling in the picture.  The light source will be determined by where I can get him to sit comfortably for a while and I will aim to use a blue grey palette as this is probably how he is feeling right now.

I tightened up a lot in the last exercise, so this time my intention will be to try a much looser style of painting, partly this will be achieved by standing and working in a larger format.


Having persuaded my volunteer, ha ha, I quickly decided whether to go for portrait or landscape. I wasn’t going to get any choice of pose ,as he was slumped in front of the TV. At first I felt the position lent itself to landscape but I would have ended up with a lot of dressing gown at the right hand side so I opted for portrait.  Zoomed in a bit more to loose the sofa.  Interesting thought on the second sketch as his head was sticking out of he frame that this might look cool,…..but didn’t follow it up in the actual painting.  It would have taken time to work out and my model was already restless.  Maybe another time.


Scribbled some  acrylic blue on, deliberately roughly, as a ground.

Began with a simple outline in white chalk to get positioning and went straight into painting.


I had put masking tape down the edge of the painting in readiness to try the head over the edge but got no further than that.

I used only Prussian Blue, Paynes Grey, Silver White and for a touch of warmth Cobalt Violet Hue.  I was pleased with the choice of violet. The lighting ended up being from the front of the model as he was watching TV and I felt this somehow added to the atmosphere of the light.

I could not see his eyes and the TV light was reflecting on the lenses of his glasses.


This is actually quite a good likeness of my son.  This time I am pleased that its not such a tight painting, which is what I had set out to achieve.  It was done in only an hour so there was no time to fiddle!

Its not a happy image….the colours certainly express this and I feel that I captured the light of a TV watcher too.  I do wonder if you could achieve a happy blue picture.  Having looked at Picassos’ Blue Period, there is not much joy there!

I used scratching the surface of the paint and a dryer brush application for the stubble on his face and the hair and this has worked quite well.  The touches of purple have also served me well to show a little colour in the mouth and highlight the texture in the hair.

I have achieved a likeness and explored how much I can get out of a limited range of colours.  This could probable have been stretch further with more time.


Final Painting