Sunday, 10 February 2013


After my regular painting session today, I decided to practice for my Duchess of Cambridge submission. I opened the two blogs I published on the eyes, plus this blog on the nose and took them for a test run. 

As I've said before I'm not a portrait painter, in fact I find it all quite intimidating, but I have to start somewhere. The nose seemed the simplest to start with, so I watched the first video on painting the nose, set up my palette and got started. I had several photos of the Duchess in front of me as reference. I placed the nose in the center because I wanted to tackle the eyes next on the same sheet.

I don't have retarder or medium where I'm staying, so the first challenge was the difficulty of working with Acrylics in the thin wash, blending technique suggested in this oil painting video. Nevertheless, after about half and hour I had a study which passed quite admirably as a nose.

LADY MARY (unfinished sketch)
6" x 4"  Original Art Postcard

I continued to paint on the same sheet, thoroughly enjoying the experience as I created cheeks, a forehead eyebrows and eyes. I found I had to keep repainting because the Acrylics darken as they dry and this changes the value balance so important to a portrait. After several hours I had a pretty good resemblance ..... but not of the Duchess, I think it looks more like Lady Mary of Downton Abbey. 

I wasn't going to publish this because it is unfinished and I see so many errors but here is my first ever attempt at a portrait of a living person. It will probably be worth a fortune when I'm selling my paintings for $50,000! I have got past my fear and I had fun, painting eyes, noses, cheeks and hair, as well as testing colour mixes. Back to the drawing board, tomorrow. Perhaps I'll finish this study and put it up for sale. Onwards and upwards! 

The Nose
People shy away from painting the nose because it has no hard edges to define it. The modelling is created solely with light and shadow. If you think about it there is no difference between painting a nose and an apple, orange or pear. The main challenge is to identify the brightest highlights and the deepest low lights, set them in the correct place and blend.

3.5" x 2.5" Original Art OOAK ACEO
When I created "Geisha" I decided that her nose was the most natural, individual thing about her and it set her apart from all other Geisha with white make up and a pouting mouth. Therefore I paid particular attention to setting it in the correct place and using a delicate wash of colourful greys to create the contours.

"Geisha ACEO" is SOLD but contact me to ask about larger paintings, prints and others in the Geisha series.

Helpful Nose Painting Videos

How to paint the nose front view - Art Lessons
Drawing a nose - Darrel Tank

I no longer have to co-ordinate with Leslie Saetas posting time for the 30 in 30 challenge, so today I am changing my blog mail out to just before midnight. If I get enough comments saying you really hate this idea, I will change it back, but it just gives me a bit more breathing space. Thanks

Cat # 13049 and 13020