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Self image: basic materials and techniques (2)

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dainty or daring?

Drawing board
Masking tape
Rag for smudging
Fixative spray

In the eighteenth century, pastel painting, as it was known, was a popular form of portraiture, John Raphael Smith (1752-1812) was a specialist in the medium, whilst George Percy Jacomb-Hood (1857-1929) was primarily known as a painter, illustrator and etcher.

John Raphael Smith
by John Raphael Smith
circa 1807
NPG 981

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fluid movement

Sir George Scharf
by Sir George Scharf
NPG 3863

Watercolour blocks or tubes
Range of soft brushes
Paper or card
Drawing board
Masking tape
Water pot
Palette for mixing

The most significant characteristic of watercolour is its transparent quality. A design or underdrawing can be made using a brush loaded with a thin neutral colour such as an umber, or in light pencil with subsequent washes of colour laid over the top. Colours are thinned with water, the more water added the more transparent the wash will be. Sir George Scharf (1820-1895), the first director of the National Portrait Gallery, is pictured here using this medium.

Here a other examples of the range of effects that can be achieved through the use of watercolour:

Isaac Oliver
by Isaac Oliver
circa 1590
NPG 4852

William Orpen
by Sir William Orpen
NPG 2638

Richard Cosway
by Richard Cosway
circa 1790
NPG 304

Richard Parkes Bonington
by Richard Parkes Bonington
circa 1820-1825
NPG 1729

quick drying & versatile

Acrylic paints in tubes or pots
Range of brushes
Paper, card, board
Drawing board or easel
Masking tape
Water pot
Palette knife for mixing
Pencil for underdrawing
Rags for cleaning brushes

Acrylic paints are made of pigment bound in a synthetic resin and come in tubes or jars. Like watercolours, acrylics are soluble in water and can be thinned to almost transparent consistency and applied as washes or layered as glazes. They also can be used with a small amount of water to achieve a flat opaque surface and even squeezed direct from the tube to build up an impasto effect.



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Untitled, c.1973 (Alex Chilton) by William Eggleston © Eggleston Artistic Trust

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