Chapter 13 - Beauty and the Beast - Portrait Artist Here I Come - Uni 2nd Year 2016/17
Updated: Jun 21, 2020
EMMA WATSON - 'Belle' - 40 hours, 56x38cm acrylic painting on 425gsm Bockington Watercolour Paper
Here is the first portrait which truly shocked me and I started to believe I was actually capable of becoming a portrait artist. You will notice that Belle looks different in my portfolio on the 'Portraits' section on my website, but don't worry, I will get to that at another time as the painting makes a few appearances in my art career. This was my first painting of not only truly capturing the likeness of my subject, but also the first time I had worked large scale again and with a recognisable face. The pressure of working with a famous face was alot higher than I would have imagined because obviously, many more people know Emma Watson's face than they would know my face if I were to do a portrait of a friend for example. Working with famous people put added pressure on myself as it changes the way that people look at the art, if it doesn't look quite right and a bit off, it can look like a failure if it doesn't achieve a spot on likeness, but if it were a portrait of a friend then a much smaller group of people know that person's face.
This painting took around 40 hours to complete, I remember struggling with the strong lighting from the photo references that I picked, so the cheek was a struggle for me at the time because I wasn't used to working with such dark shadows and strong highlights. This painting is one that I would call a milestone painting because the quality of the painting and the ability to capture a likeness has levelled up you could say. Looking back to the first portrait of my friend Emma, even the eyes are alot sharper and detailed. I have attached photos of the painting in development, you can see that I don't create a base like some artist, this is just a personal preference because I feel as though covering the whole thing in a base colour makes the painting look ugly for too long. But working section by section allows me to finish one section and then move onto the next without worrying about having to juggle the whole painting at the same time like some artists do. I also try to work in systematic way, I will paint the parts of the portrait in layers to make my life easier, so, I would paint the face first, then the dress because that is obviously on top of the body, then the hair last as that goes over the top of both the dress and the face/body.
Below are the photo references that I worked from, it is already edited together which is why some of the skin tones look a little off in random areas, but that is just the collaging of it. I used 1 reference photo for the hair and part of the forehead, another for the face, then changed her makeup and gave her Belle's gold earring rather than the silver one you can see in the image below, then the dress photo is made up of 2 different photos with a minor lighting change too.