An Art Demonstration: Painting Dennis

Painting a portrait in acrylicsA friend of mine, Dennis Spicer, recently asked me to look after one of his art classes for a couple of weeks whilst he took a break. At the end of my first class sitting in for Dennis, I was asked to demonstrate my working technique to the students the following session.

As most of the students work from photographs I thought it would be most useful if I were to demonstrate my approach to this method of working. On going through my reference photographs I found a photo of Dennis and his wife Vivien that I thought would make an amusing little subject and might provide the opportunity for an interesting painting.

With time short, I drew out the portrait in pencil before the demonstration commenced. As the demonstration was due to last only 30-45 minutes, I chose to work in acrylics. The quick-drying time of acrylics facilitated working dry on dry. The canvas I worked on was approximately 12″ x 16″ in size.

It was the first demonstration I’d made to a significant number of people and with nerves running a little high and there being necessarily a lot of time taken up answering questions and explaining my working practices, I didn’t get too far into the portrait. The results of the demonstration are pictured below.

Art demonstrationI felt it would be helpful to students if I were to finish the painting at home, to demonstrate how such a start might progress. I continued to work fairly loosely, leaving much of the canvas white and several areas sketch-like. Another 5 or 6 hours work at home and I ended up with the painting below.

Portrait painting in acrylics on canvas

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