Sunday, March 22, 2009

A Firm Foundation

A word to JJ first, grrrrrrrrrrrr.......I have never had such a bad time trying to do a painting. I figured a B&W study would be a good start. I didn't have the luxury of other colours to bail me out so if its a bit muddled, you'll know why.
This is my favorite pic of me and my dad, just a few months before he passed on. I plan to do a family man group, with my two sons added to this pic, one on each side of dad.


  1. WOW!!!!!!!!! What are you moaning about, this is really good!! You have your Dad's eyes! You and Ree painted your glasses in, I chickened out of mine ;-))

    I f you paint this again in a couple months time, you will notice a bigger improvement. You will paint a beautiful family portrait, if you keep practicing for a while before hand. Paint your sons together too, before you paint the family one.

    I am impressed Bruce!!

  2. I think this is awesome Bruce ..... looking at that small picture it could be a photograph!!

  3. How big is this Bruce? Is this what you looked like 20 years ago? It's a really nice picture. I think you captured your own face splendidly (I don't know what you really look like, but it's a very good portrait) Your father's face on the other hand, needs some work. I'm not sure I should be critiquing HIM. The mouth is wrong. It's just a hole in his face. I think you could do a lot more with it, as older people have such fabulous wrinkles to work with.
    Honestly, what's bothering me are little things, like your right forearm is exactly at the same angle as your dad's shoulder. that tends to bring your eye there.
    Good job. I think you should be painting more people! ps is Mack your last name or is it short for something?

  4. Thanks JJ, If you're impressed, I've accomplised something. I know I picked a much harder photo to copy, but since my dad was so important to me, he was a part of me, this is my fav pic of the two of us. To me, he was a solid foundation.

    Anne, you're too kind, but my wife, Carol, agrees.

    Mimi, dad and I were actually goofing around, well ok, I was. He was sitting on a chair and my wife was going to take his pic. I ran up and leaned down on his shoulders. He said a little to the right, ahhh that feels good... I miss him.

    I had a terrible time in B&W painting the mouths since I couldn't rely on colour to distinguish details. His mouth is small with thin lips and mine of course is much bigger, with a mustache and my teeth were showing.

    ONce again I completely misjudged B&W painting, thinking it was going to be much easier....sheesh, was I wrong. It was great lesson in managing values tho. I did a rough value sketch on my note book first to see how it would look, then my painting buddy suggested doing it in B&W. I'm gonna get him next time I see him.

    Dad at 75 had very few wrinkles showing, but you're right, I'm not crazy about his lower face in particular. It needs work. I was going to scrap this one and start on a larger canvas IN COLOUR, but my wife has already run off with this and won't let me have it back.

  5. oh, and that's me a few years ago at age 50. I'm a fine wine I guess...Carol dyes my hair occasionally so I don't look like a grandfather. I refuse to age gracefully. I'm going kickin and my docs can attest to.

  6. good grief, paint in color! you do fine with colors!

  7. Mimi, I forgot to answer your name question.

    Mackb stands for Bruce MacKinnon, shortened with the first name initital following, like the military folks do, since my dad was in the navy for 30 years. I just realized that unconciously, mackb was an homage to my dad...huh!

    And trust me, it's colours next time. My wife wants me to do one of each of our boys in B&W. Shudder.

    Thanks JJ for torturing us by making us look at ourselves. It's amazing what you learn looking into those beady eyes...

  8. :-))

    Black and white studies are GREAT learning tools!!!!!! We should all do them, and you are right they are a wonderful lesson in values. Maybe someone will make that one of our weeks challenges, values painting.. ;-)

    I actually like that you haven't painted every line and wrinkle in, leaving that for our imagination, is a very good thing to do! Very professional looking. That is the key to great art! Knowing what to leave out.......... We know by looking at this painting, it is you and your Dad, we can see there is an age difference, and adding lines to the face, imo could just mess it up.

    I hope your wife is having this painting framed!

    You should keep practicing the portraiture studies, I am betting this is your path!

  9. Oh, and I hope you are cooking up a really great challenge for us, when it is your turn.. ;-)

  10. Yeah I am, how about an accurate self portrait done in monochrome....hehehehehe

  11. Now that would be an excellent challenge and maybe I should have done that before the colour one. I am up for it when it is your turn!!


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