Chapter 73 - Beauty and the Beast - The Cursed Prince - 2019
Updated: Jun 18, 2020
DAN STEVENS - 'Beast' - 48 hours, 76x56cm acrylic painting on 425gsm Bockington Watercolour Paper
Here he is, Beast, even now I am still surprised by how well her turned out. Every area of this painting is one that I love and is definitely one of those paintings that looks so much better in person. Not tooting my own horn or anything, but I added so much metallic detail and shimmers to the outfit that just doesn't get conveyed in a single photo. The cravat has wavy patterns on it painted in metallic silver that only show up at certain angles when the light hits it, this is the same for the gold floral design, that is metallic as well and twinkles at you when the light hits. This will always be a piece that I will love not only because of the attention to details like this, but it is also one where I really had a break through with painting hair and my confidence grew so much by forcing myself to tackle it. I even got emotional at one point of painting, I could point out the exact section of hair where I had the moment of realisation that this was going to be a really good piece and I had to stop doubting myself.
I started the painting in the same way that I always do, but painting the layer furthest underneath everything, so in this case I painted the background, then the suit, then the patterns and buttons, then the cravat, then the horns, then the hair off of his face, then the face. This makes sense to do it in a layering process like this, if I were to have painted his face and hair first, then the outfit, I would have had to work harder to get the outfit and beard area to meet up to have a nice natural finish. I had to use many different techniques when painting this to get different textures and finishing styles, but it all paid off. Similar to what I did with my painting of Kevin Keller, I made Beast's eyes just slightly bluer in colour than what they actually are and used the same shade of blue used in the suit to help make the colours compliment eachother nicely.
Beast's hair also allowed me to work with many different hair types all within one piece - the beard area is alot more wirey, messier and a longer length than the short hairs on his face. Then the hair on the top and back of his head needed to be painted in a layering process working one section at a time, starting with the back of the head. If I ever get nervous about painting hair again, I just need to remind myself of this painting because this piece is truly the moment where I felt like I got my breakthrough on how to paint hair realistically, but also in a way that looked stylistically as high a standard as the rest of the painting within a portrait. Quite often I felt as though the skin, of a normal portrait that isn't a hairy beast, looked of a higher standard then the clumpy way I painted hair, but this piece is the moment where I made that breakthrough. The only hair I am still nervous to try out is tight afro like hair or natural curly ringlets, as both of those styles are messier and precise both at the same time. I guess that is the next challenge I will have to face.