Work In progress by John Boyle

"This painting is a comission I received from a friend for his nieces Wedding Gift. The Weddingwas last year '06, so let's hope the wait will be worth it. A little extra pressure to get the juices flowing. I'm working from an A4 copy of the photograph, to be painted on a 32" x 24" canvas.

Work In Progress

The first thing I did was grid up the photograph to the canvas dimensions, to ensure the full image would be painted. If they had asked for a head and shoulders I wouldn't have done this,but they didn't, they wanted thefull monty. I then started the painting using only yellow ochre and black oil paint, plenty of white spirit and a rag to wipe away excess and create light areas. I try to cover most of the canvas at this stage to give me a level playing field and get rid of that emptywhite surface. The dress, however,was pretty white so I left some canvas at this point.I quite enjoy this stage and sometimes the effect itself can be quite pleasing ( give or take a few brush strokes). Next will be working on the features more, adding some colour and trying to keep it allharmonious."

Work In Progress stage 2

At this stage I have concentrated more on the background and placing final positions. At the moment I'm thinking on a deep burgandy backdrop which will help in losing some of the edges of the groom. This may change as the painting develops, but for now it gives me a colour and shade to contrast the flesh tones. I haven't really changedor added any colour to the features yet, just trying to imagine what kind of impact the overall painting will produce. Carrying onas it is, the bride should shine as the mostimportant figure, with the groom taking a backing role.......I'm sure he'll not mind. As for the dress, I've just picked out a couple of shadedareas to add some form, leaving any detail to the end."

WIP stage 3

I've started to develop the groom first, along with the left hand background. I do this because I'm right handed andcan lean on the unpainted right hand side without worrying about smudges. That's the grooms featuresbasically done, but I'll returnto tidy up areas after I've finished the bride. After that I'll tackle the dress and flowers.

portrait stage 4 portrait stage5

"These two detail images just show a bit of progression in painting the brides features. The first displays how I get the basic skin tones and shading. The second shows how this is further developed into a more realistic image with deeper shadows and lighter highlights."

The finished painting

This is the finished picture. I've tried to keep the groom subdued, except for the facial area, allowing the bride, Sharon,to take centre stage. As it's in oils, I'll need to leave it for a while to dry, before adding a coat of varnish. Let's hope they like it."

(Click here to see more of John's work)