Number 32 of 52 Portraits

TWENTY portraits to go!

This one was inspired partly by a new member of the 52 Portraits in 52 Weeks Facebook group who drew these amazing portraits in pencil. I can't even come close, but I had fun trying.

This portrait was also inspired by the writings of Mechtild of Magdeburg. Mechtild was a Medieval beguine (sort of a lay nun) and she wrote this mystic work called "The Flowing Light of the Godhead". Fairly early on (I haven't finished reading an English translation of it) she describes a pure soul, with a shift of white, a mantle of gold and so on.

I tried to use a reference photo for shading, but in figuring out how to do the shading in pencil, I think I ended up fairly close to the photo again.

The first layer, along with the pencil sketch, using a 7B pencil, I put down some olive XL Charcoal from Derwent for the background.


I sprayed  workable fixative at this point as I wanted to leave her face as is. I added Titanium White in Golden fluid acrylic for her dress, gold gesso (Daniel Smith) for the gesso -- look at that shine! -- and Liquitex muted green ink to brighten up the background.


The final step was to add highlights to her face with a Sharpie paint pen and repair some places where stray bits of charcoal landed and got fixed when I sprayed with workable fixative. I also made the darkest darks darker using a charcoal pencil and smudging. To her hair I also added a mix of Titanium White and Titanium buff to lighten the hair after all that graphite and charcoal. I added more 7B pencil to create shadows on her gold cloak, but I ended up using a Caran D'ache gold marker as it was darker.

Finally, I added Golden Violet-Green Interference fluid acryluc paint to her hair. You can very faintly see the green in this photo:


(OK, maybe hardly at all. Look at the lower left for a hint of it.) And the violet looks amazing in this photo:


Of course, it doesn't scan at ALL. Neither does the gold gesso really. But I know it's there. Here's the final image.


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