Inktober 2017 days 16 to 20

During these five days I found myself busy and sitting in meetings. It was easier to fit Inktober in by drawing the people around me. So portraits came to the fore. It turned out to be quite a lot of fun, reminding me of why I set out to work on portraits this year.

Here they are:

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Day 16: Girl in profile

Day 17: A young soldier

Day 18: A serious matter

Day 19: Mrs Ngamlana

Day 20: Always smiling

 

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Inktober 2017 days 11 to 15

The journey continues… exploring the ink blots, and some more deliberate work. A little Star Trek reference thrown in too.

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Day 11: Kneeling woman

Day 12: Blown over the islands

Day 13: I is for Ink (and illustrate, illuminate, inspire, impress, invent, invest, interest, improve, innovate…)

Day 14: Face-off in space

Day 15: Hope in the darkness

Inktober 2017, the first five days

On impulse, I signed up for the Inktober challenge. It’s a real challenge because I have never used ink before. I just assumed that ink was always black. Then I went out and found some great colours at my local stationers.

It’s been interesting, learning what ink can and can’t do. I’m loving the unpredictability of it all. I’ve also found it goes well with my favourite silver pen.

So here are my first five contributions to Inktober…

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Day 1: Up and to the left

Day 2: Landscape with poppies

Day 3: J is for Judy

Day 4: The source

Day 5: Angelfish

I’ll post the rest here in batches of five. If you can’t wait five days I am posting daily on Instagram (https://www.instagram.com/judybackhouse/).

Face No.4: Sullen

Face 4 sullen
Face No.4: Sullen by Judy Backhouse © 2017

This face was inspired by a picture in Germaine Greer’s wonderful book, The Boy. The Boy is well worth a read, especially for mothers of sons in a world where there is so much focus on daughters. The beautiful illustrations (paintings and photographs) are a wonderful source of inspiration.

I liked the picture for its combination of angelic beauty with a direct challenge. I call the painting Sullen because it is a look I have seen on so many young men at that point where they stake a claim for independence. It seems to say “I am not who you want me to be; I will be my own person.” The refusal to participate comes across as sullen.

This picture combines reds and blues to create the pinky-purple tones with a little yellow and sienna for warmth.

It is painted in acrylic on a gallery wrapped canvas and is finished in a matt acrylic varnish. At 40cm x 40cm it is a little smaller than others in this series. It is ready to hang.

A face emerging

I find the process of painting these faces to be like sculpture. The face emerges as I work on one part of the surface, applying colour to create contours or features.

So I thought you might like to see the process. Here are three pictures of the face emerging from the canvas (left ot right). They were taken about a week apart.

At this stage I am waiting to see if the picture on the right is “finished”. Usually I wait a week or two , just living with him in my studio. Sometimes I notice things that need more work, sometimes I don’t.

When I’m happy that there is no more to do, I’ll varnish the picture and name him.

Face No.3: Kindly

Kindly2 small
Face No.3: Kindly by Judy Backhouse © 2017

This painting is based on photographs of Michael Stonebraker published in the Communications of the ACM (June 2015) at the time when he was awarded the ACM Turing Award for his contributions to Computer Science.

I think he has an interesting face. Ageing, not symmetrical, but with the kind of confidence that comes from doing worthwhile work. I have taken liberties with the specifics of shape and proportion, exaggerating the diamond shape of the face. The kindly eyes become the focus.

Small Kindly eyes

The colours include bright crimson, phthalo greens, both deep and light, and a rich magenta that becomes lilac when mixed with white. There is a fair amount of sienna in there too, also lightened with white. I love the way layers of colour sculpt the contours of the face creating the impression of lines, where there are none.

Face No.3: Kindly is painted in acrylic paint on a 50cm x 50cm stretched canvas. It is finished in gloss acrylic varnish.