Finished Portrait: Kalervo

portrait of Kalervo

The final sitting was on Sunday. I put my brushes down after a couple of hours in conversation and observation, and invited Kalervo to inspect the portrait. He looked like he had to steel himself before walking around the side of the easel. He took a minute to take it all in, and then commented on the fact that he had a bit of a stern look. We discussed this for a while, my mother and husband included (the baby just grinned, he didn't throw in his normal commentary on my work "Babababa! Rrrrrrrrrrr!"). Rather than be concerned about the stern look, Kalervo was satisfied that I had captured the expression other people usually associate with his character.


Kalervo portrait after sitting 5

Last Sunday I had my mother over to babysit while Kalervo sat for his portrait. What really happened was that my husband watched the baby while my mother had a spirited conversation with Kalervo in the studio and I painted. I had to play a game of musical chairs with them to get the arrangement and Kalervo's line of sight just so. As the baby chose not to sleep the night before I suffered some serious eye-and-brain fatigue during the session, so I didn't get a good look in. There will be one more sitting this coming Sunday, and maybe Kalervo will dare to peek at the painting at the end of it.

A note on his shirt - he wore it to the first sitting (and all subsequent sittings have been in some sort of black t-shirt), and I was intrigued by the witty tag line from the Finnish Red Cross (Punainen Risti): "GIVERIGHTNOW". "Veri" is the Finnish word for blood, and I think it's a pretty clever combination of English-Finnish, plus eye-catching. It also speaks about Kalervo, as he has been a steadfast blood donor all his life and is committed to the cause.

Between Sittings

underdrawing for portrait of Kalervo

I adjusted the underdrawing a little bit after hiding it for a day and using a mirror to help me spot the really wonky bits. It's not an anatomically exact drawing, but it gives me an idea of the proportions and features.

underpainting for portrait of Kalervo

After wiping off the excess charcoal and fixing the remaining shadowy lines to the canvas (with Wella hairspray, the only reason I have the stuff in the house), I put down a layer of Payne's Grey thinned out with Liquin. I prefer Gamblin's Galkyd Painting Medium, but it's not in distribution o'er here. *sigh* In fact, I would use all of the Gamblin products if they were available here .*hint hint, wink wink*

I would normally block in the shadows on the face with the first color layer, but the lighting is still unresolved as I will be painting in three different places (studio, model's home, and convention/fair hall). The background/backdrop is also undetermined as of yet.