Oil Painting Portrait - Two attempts 13 years apart

Last year I finally plucked up the courage to paint my Grandfather. It had been 13 years since my first attempt. After my first attempt I hoped one day I could paint him more realistically and vowed not to paint him again until I could do him justice.

I never got to meet my Grandad Jack, but grew up hearing stories about him. The photograph I painted from was in pride of place in my Nana’s flat, usually somewhere prominent like on top of the tv (back in the days when tvs were boxes). I knew this was a special photo of him.

I painted this portrait as a gift for my Aunty, but I had a feeling that it would be special to the whole family. I hope that I have done him justice. I am proud of my attempt and I hope he is proud of me.

During the early stages of the portrait I mapped out his face with monochromatic washes (shown directly below), focusing on form and light. These washes ran like tears around his eyes. This was an emotional moment for me, as I sensed we were connected in our mutual loss of never having met. Through the process of building the layers I felt I learnt more about the man I had heard so much about.

 Value study. Close-up on the right.

Value study. Close-up on the right.

 Jack Dobson Oil on canvas 350x450mm

Jack Dobson Oil on canvas 350x450mm

Below you can see a comparison between my two attempts. As you can see, I’m pretty chuffed with the final result of the painting. Below this is a video showing the painting form - I took a photo at the end of each work session and compiled these into a video. I hope you enjoy it as much as enjoyed the painting process!

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