Drawing and painting people has always been one of the weakest parts of my art so I have tended to avoid it. Finally though I decided to take the plunge, partly as I wanted to get better and partly because my tutor Hugh Mendes specialises in portraits and it seems foolish not to make use of this fund of knowledge. The first task was to pick subjects and so I decided to pick 2, one personal and one not. I picked a picture of me with my grandfather Kenneth Mackenzie (below left) and a picture of Obama blowing a bubble.
I was close with my grandfather and we got on well. This picture is when I am about 8 and in many ways captures the quality of our relationship. The Obama picture, is just a call image. I admire Obama but also this is compositionally a very good image and the bubble attracted me as a painting challenge.
All and interesting experience. The Obama portrait doesn't actually look like him. The head and neck are too thin, the chin too high and the skin too light (although not that much). On the other hand it does actually look like a convincing person and looks thoroughly three dimensional.
My grandfather and me, looks more like the people they are supposed to. Again my grandfather's head needs to be thicker and the area around the mouth needs work. What I think I have managed to capture well is the interaction between the two.
For first attempts they are not too bad. I am encouraged and shall do more. One day they will actually look like the person. That will be nice.
William John Mackenzie
I am an artist with a specialism in landscapes and still life. My contact details are here.