This detailed pastel portrait commission is a gratefully received birthday gift

Recently I was approached by a friend of my son's to do a portrait of her husband two sons, Charlie and Frank, for his birthday 6 weeks hence. As I had just completed a commission and, though I had two in the pipeline, the timing worked out fine for me so I said yes.

She sent me a range of photographs to work from, some good, some not so good. I am fussy with the references I work from but was able to come up with photos that were acceptable in detail and character.

Frank reference photo for portrait commission. Ivan Jones artist        Charlie reference photo for portrait commission. Ivan Jones artist

These two photos were taken on the same day and I combined them together, with the assistance of my wife, for me to work from. We used Craft Artist software from Serif......

Collage first attempt of Charlie and Frank. Reference photos. Ivan Jones artist

We then removed the background using the cloning tool in FastStone Image Viewer ( similar to Adobe Photoshop but free software ) 

Collage reference photos Charlie and Frank. Background removed. Ivan Jones artist

As is usual for my pastel artworks I started from a basic outline then added layers of pastel and pastel pencil, building up the 3D effect of the portrait. I started with Charlie and, working from left to right, built up the layers of detail and colour using soft pastel and a range of pastel pencils on Artspectrum Colourfix pastel paper. 

This technique also allows me to change the skin shading as I progress, building on the layer before. Time consuming but rewarding.....Colourfix paper is like a very fine sandpaper which, with blending, allows those layers to build.

This short video starts with a slideshow of days 2 to 10. It then progresses to my technique for layering - first blending a base layer to Charlie's head then adding hairs, in layers, using pastel pencils. Frank's hair then follows. There is a neat trick, part way through, that I use to make sure I have the correct proportions of the face. I like to ensure that the portrait is accurate and using this method works well for me.

I hope you like this video, a mixture of slideshow, normal speed and hyperlapse, with text overwriting.

This was the response from the father, Adam, when the portrait was revealed on his birthday "He literally opened it and it took his breath away.  He was so choked, he said never before has he felt like that at a gift. He adores it, I wish there was a bigger word to describe how he feels about it, he was astounded and is so touched. He is watching your progress video as I write. I cannot begin to thank you for all you have done - you’ve made his 50th birthday so special and unforgettable"

Charlie and Frank. Completed commissioned pastel portrait by Ivan Jones artist

Anyway, I hope you like this portrait as much as Adam did and if you want something as special as this then why not consider me for a portrait commission as well. In the meantime stay safe and enjoy the rest of your day whatever you are doing! Catch up soon...... 

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