Painting, portraits and 4×5 photography…

The Fayum portrait I am copying

I have discovered an excitement and love of painting.  That is the only way to describe how I feel.  Using this medium to see light as opposed to the photographic process is a joy.  Although I tend to be a ‘fast’ painter, the inevitability of having to let paint dry keeps me from getting to far ahead of myself.  We are still engaged in tonal studies, but have branched out into some color variations based on ‘hot’ and ‘cool’.  Very interesting.   We have also begun the ‘Fayum’ process as well and using the tetrachromy is a challenging form that dates back to the beginnings of the Common Era (30 ACE to the 3rd century).  Art historians believe that these colors are actually the four used by the Greeks in the 4th an 5th centuries BCE and reference the four elements.  The spiritual aspect of this intrigues me.  The Fayum portraits themselves seem to have survived purely by chance while only written descriptions exist of the height of Greek painting from the classical age.  As a student of history I am happy to be looking at this course from both an artistic and academic point of view.

This afternoon I cleaned up the light studio and set up the four studio lights and scrims we use here at the Aegean Center.  This means that I can begin my portrait work this week, I hope.  I will use my 4×5 camera and produce images similar to the portraits made in the late 19th century.  The lighting will be dramatic and raking, borrowing  more from the style of Rembrandt than anything else.  My subjects will be students and locals and will be both an important part of my portfolio and my learning curve.  This vision may change, of course and I may find I like the open studio light concept better than the drama.  The composition will be head and shoulders only, 3/4 view or something like that.  We shall see…



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One Response to Painting, portraits and 4×5 photography…

  1. Gregory R Molesworth March 29, 2012 at 8:18 pm #

    Sir, your images are wonderful. I used to work in 4×5, even used an 11×14 Deardorf for a while. then shot film with a Hasselblad for many years. Nice to see some actually working in a darkroom.

    I think you will enjoy the images on my web site, have been working on Vanishing America for over 30 years.

    I live in Westchester County in the summers, would love to get together sometime.