Tuesday, December 04, 2012

The Face of Homelessness, Bath

Face of Homelessness, Bath, Oil on Board, 12" x 12", 2012
This post mainly features on my keen interest in depicting interesting faces. All year I have been working on this project of homeless peoples faces and I'll be sharing the ideas behind this and sometimes where I can, I'll document some stage by stage thoughts that go through my head while working on them.

Same Model- sat for me for my Big Issue Series 9

I meet these people while commuting or walking down the street. I'm always armed with my sketchbook and  pencils and my camera, if they allow me a photograph or two. Once I fall in love with a face, that's it! I'll just find every way possible to convince them I need to draw, sketch or paint them.  We get talking and share some of our interests while the sketching or photographing goes on. This particular guy I painted here is called Rodney, I met him in Bath.
That's Him with the Big Issue Sketch
For the whole of this project I adopted the Zorn Palette, which consists of 4 colours. Titanium White, Cadmium Red, Yellow Orche and Ivory Black. These three colours are basically used as 3 primaries. The Cadmium Red is RED, The Yellow Orche is YELLOW, while the Black acts as the BLUE. Once I have this thought it mind, it's easy to mix secondaries and even tertiary colours.

STAGE 1-The Sketch is done in conte, I used 2 colours sepia and black-the sketch is not that accurate but it givers a sense of the  proportion and composition of the head on the square surface.
STAGE 2-The method I embark on here is called-"Inside Out"- Where I just start from a particular place INSIDE the face, this time it was with one of the eyes. From that point I just paint shape by shape till I get to all the OUTSIDE features. So its starting from the INSIDE and moving to the OUTSIDE.
STAGE 3-I plan to move upwards and here I  have almost covered the whole surface here, introducing a dark background to  bring out his  light toned  face.
STAGE 4-Here I start moving downwards, trying my best to adjust errors as I go along. This method demands full concentration and good drawing skills but the slower one goes the better.

STAGE 5-At this stage I have only one shape left and that's why this method is quite exciting as one is able to  watch the picture come to life from little brush stroke applications,
STAGE 6-Finally I have all the surface covered and it's all done wet  on wet , with  no underpainting. 
I really love weathered faces, faces that have seen life, I love the faces that tell stories and while talking to these guys, it's always a great opportunity to listen to what they have been through!


"One is never fully satisfied with the portrait of a person one knows"-Johann Wolfang Von Goethe


Greybrush, [Steve Dominey] said...

You are definitely improving!

adebanji said...


Greybrush, [Steve Dominey] said...

BTW I posted that excellent video about you on my site. Your attitude is encouraging.

adebanji said...

Thanks so much!!!!!

Lisa said...

I love your sketches and the way you depict people. It's really interesting and inspiring to see how you're doing it - thanks for sharing it with us. I also love faces, it never gets boring.

adebanji said...

Thanks Lisa! I am happy you enjoy these sketches! Yes, the concept of faces is endless.

Roger Brown My Botswana Art said...

I love this painting,the colors and light is inspiring.

Azra said...

You can actually see the weather on his face,his time on the streets is etched in every brushstroke!! Thanks for the tutorial,you are also a teacher by nature!

adebanji said...

Thanks Roger and Azra! Azra, I really enjoy the teaching bits!