Indirect Painting by Adrian Eisenhower

I have started a portrait painting of Cary using an indirect method. This means that I make the drawing in graphite first before transferring it onto panel to commence with painting. During the first 3 hours of drawing I laid out a general block-in. In the following session, I was able to achieve more of a likeness and get more of his character into the picture.

 

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Here, I have copied the drawing onto tracing paper.

Here, I have copied the drawing onto tracing paper.

And then covered the back of the traced drawing with graphite from a 6B pencil. 

And then covered the back of the traced drawing with graphite from a 6B pencil. 

With the graphite smudged over the drawing on the back of the tracing paper, I tape the drawing down to a panel right side up. I can then go over the drawn lines with a pen. I choose to use a blue pen so I can distinctly see the lines that I have gone over. By going over the lines with a pen, the graphite that is sandwiched between the tracing paper and the panel is transferred over to the panel. 

With the graphite smudged over the drawing on the back of the tracing paper, I tape the drawing down to a panel right side up. I can then go over the drawn lines with a pen. I choose to use a blue pen so I can distinctly see the lines that I have gone over. By going over the lines with a pen, the graphite that is sandwiched between the tracing paper and the panel is transferred over to the panel. 

The transfer is complete but still needs to be fixed. I can use spray fixative to lock down the lines, so they don't wash away when I commence with painting. I choose to ink the lines with a brush and permanent india ink, however. 

The transfer is complete but still needs to be fixed. I can use spray fixative to lock down the lines, so they don't wash away when I commence with painting. I choose to ink the lines with a brush and permanent india ink, however. 

Here is the inked panel, ready to be painted. 

Here is the inked panel, ready to be painted. 

Here is a painting of the Sacrifice of Isaac, 1527, by Andrea del Sarto from the Cleveland Museum of Art. We can see that he has not finished the painting and in some passages, his inked lines are plainly visible. From the drawing - the disegno - he built his painting up with relatively thin applications of paint. 

Here is a painting of the Sacrifice of Isaac, 1527, by Andrea del Sarto from the Cleveland Museum of Art. We can see that he has not finished the painting and in some passages, his inked lines are plainly visible. From the drawing - the disegno - he built his painting up with relatively thin applications of paint. 

A closed grisaille underpainting of raw umber and white.

A closed grisaille underpainting of raw umber and white.

A first pass with color. I am still keeping shapes and color very simple at this point. 

A first pass with color. I am still keeping shapes and color very simple at this point. 

A second pass on Cary's face. This was about a month after the first pass. Cary had since gotten quite a tan and a haircut. Such are the trials and tribulation of working from life. 

A second pass on Cary's face. This was about a month after the first pass. Cary had since gotten quite a tan and a haircut. Such are the trials and tribulation of working from life.