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Sometimes art is therapy

October 9, 2009

What a relief that the boy has recovered from his throat infection. Six days is long enough to be cooped up with a mopey teenager.

It’s funny how grown up a fifteen year old can seem…until they feel unwell – then they can rapidly transform into their petulant ten year old selves but with the addition of hormones and plenty of attitude.

My alcohol intake probably needs to be increased. Did I say that out loud?

To reward my self-restraint and to remind myself of the sweet side of his nature I did some colouring-in from a favourite photograph of my son.


I often take ages creating an image, only to ruin it in the final stages. This was hurriedly finished to get it scanned before the shop closed for the weekend so it’s a bit weird and the hair isn’t high enough – but I was quite interested to adopt my art teacher’s suggestion of contrasting the smooth, careful watercolour pencil marks with quick, rough oil pastel lines. Haven’t decided if I like this effect yet.


The way he was behaving I was tempted to colour the eyes red and draw a pair of horns atop his head. To give credit where it is due, however, I’m pleased to report that he did have the strength of character to think about his behaviour, then apologised and admitted that he’d behaved like a prize prat.

The photograph below is how he prefers to be depicted. *Wanders back to wine bottle*


  1. October 9, 2009 6:47 pm

    TEENAGERS who needs them… did I say that out loud? But I wouldn’t take anything in the world for mine. He’s a good looking kid (young man) and a cool rendering of him. I think the hair around his face should be in color and fade to pencil on the outer edge… but again what do I know. Now, back to my wine!

    • October 10, 2009 1:27 pm

      Thanks I appreciate the suggestion 😎 Even if I’d just drawn the hair in pencil or played around with it digitally it would have been better – there’s no going back with oil pastels. Oh well, something learned.

  2. October 9, 2009 11:19 pm

    This is beautiful, June. I have never painted a portrait with this kind of accuracy. Am I to understand you did this in watercolor crayon? Or is it colored pencil? Whichever, I love it and dub you very talented.
    Very good looking young man!

    • October 10, 2009 1:31 pm

      Yes Leslie, thanks I intended to include more detail but was rushing. Have now amended the post for clarity – I always find your explanations very useful so must do better myself. Well the girls seem to find him attractive but I think his guitar has something to do with it as well 😉 😉

  3. October 10, 2009 3:29 am

    Beautiful subtle modeling!

  4. October 10, 2009 7:03 pm

    Hey June – this is lovely I agree with asmalltown that the hair wants to be filled. this is high skill indeed and, I think, full of care and love. If this relaxes you, please do more.

    • October 10, 2009 9:14 pm

      Heh! I had a mad moment, something about it looking too careful.

      Today I’ve been experimenting painting from the same photo following instructions from a Charles Reid book – it sure is a lot harder than it looks and I won’t be putting them up on here until I’ve had a LOT more practise.

      • October 11, 2009 8:58 pm

        Well I think I know what that is like, though I am intrigued. Looking at his books I can see a development of his skill in this – over many years. This work of yours is extraordinary.

        • October 11, 2009 9:29 pm

          Thanks Stephen, colouring skills are useful for illustrating purposes. I find your watercolour work extraordinary as well.

  5. October 11, 2009 6:38 am

    I kind of like the contrast between the very stylized hair and the very realist face! It’s a cool visual device. And I think I’ve seen a post with that photo completely untreated – it made me want to draw too! Your son has a kind of Renaissance face with thoughtful eyes that lends itself so much to drawring. And of course, the pale English skin. I wonder who he takes after. (The mailman?)

    His attitude, on the other hand… Well, I have said this once and I will say it again: BEATINGS! Er, I mean, patience. Yes. Patience. That is what I meant.

    • October 11, 2009 11:06 am

      How did you know my husband was a mailman??? 😆 Glad you quite like the effect – it’s fun to play around – sometimes it works, but often it doesn’t.

      If you hear a lot of screaming next Saturday…I’m not throttling or torturing my son – he will be remembering why he is the only one who won’t be going to his friend’s party. 😛 Don’t laugh or I’ll send him to you by parcel post!

  6. October 11, 2009 3:51 pm

    Teenagers! I don’t have any, but my sister has two. Boys. And as she always says: Teenagers, can’t live with them. Can’t kill them.

    I have a vague recollection of being a teenager. Sometime during the middle ages. And those hormones make the teenager and the parents insane.

    So your lovely gentle coloring in of this photo shows that sweet gentle side of him that you know is in there somewhere.

    I love your subtle colors especially around the eyes and nose. And I like that he his face is “emerging” from the rougher oil pencil lines.

    OK, next topic: How much is too much alcohol intake? And should we actually try and find out?

    • October 11, 2009 8:38 pm

      Ha-ha your sister is sooo right. He’s usually a great kid but when he decides to have a ‘moment’ I have to remember that I drove my parents crazy thinking I knew it all – karma!

      This was quite a helpful exercise in that I discovered that skin tones are made up of so many colours – like green and blue – hope it will help me with my painting.

      As for alcohol…(hic) 😕 cheers!

  7. October 12, 2009 10:22 pm

    Your touch is very delicate in this piece. It is simply beautiful…

    • October 15, 2009 2:37 pm

      It’s a good thing I don’t have a violent nature or my ‘touch’ to his backside 👿 would have been very different.

      Thankyou napabelle, your paintings and life drawings are wonderful and diverse – your pink spotted elephant header image is SO lovely. *waves* as everyone clicks over to your site.

  8. eclectnik permalink
    October 13, 2009 12:38 pm

    Simply fabulous! You’ve made the face so real and I love how it works with the sketched hair. I’m still really regretting that I didn’t sign up for the portrait course I wanted to do, but you’ve made me wonder if I could do something good from a photograph like you. And I too have a 15 year old son so need say no more than “yes, I completely understand.”

    • October 15, 2009 2:45 pm

      I knew I could rely on you to like something quirky 😎

      Drawing from a photograph isn’t anything like the real thing – but I urge you to give it a go – because it’s all practise and at least you’re doing something creative. Some people swear by sitting in café’s or in a shopping mall.

      I can only manage one course and don’t get out much (you can probably tell 😕 😕 ) so have to resort to photographs – I hope to take life classes next year.

  9. Deva permalink
    October 13, 2009 7:13 pm

    I don’t want my sweet one year old to start acting like that…. But then again, I don’t want him to stay like he is either, saying “NO” to everything just to see if I let him decide or not… sigh…

    I think your painting is great. It is very strange to see the one where the face seems to be finished, but the hair is nearly started.. It looks like to different paintings…

    • October 15, 2009 3:11 pm

      When they misbehave, it’s an opportunity for the parent to explain to them, the difference between good and bad behaviour 😉

      You’re right, it’s not the ‘usual’ but I’ve altered it to remove some of the oil pastel so that the two aren’t equal and I think it is an improvement. You probably also take experimental risks with your photograph – the rules are meant to be broken occasionally.

  10. October 13, 2009 9:16 pm

    This post is growing! I like the unfinished hair look. It kind of says,” Look at me!” and reminds me we are all here to grow and gather the unfinished parts of ourselves throughout our journey. Your realism is fantastic on this portrait so the closeup of his face is neat to see, also.

    • October 15, 2009 3:16 pm

      The comments are also growing!

      I’m so pleased you like the messy hair too. Neat hair is sooo boring. I was kind of embarrassed to put this up as a careful drawing because…it is only colouring-in after all – so I thought the contrast of textures looked more ‘arty-farty’ – and as I’ve said, I changed it..again so think that visually, it works better now.

  11. eclectnik permalink
    October 15, 2009 9:21 am

    Just looking at your picture again and marvelling over the skin tones and shadows on the face. I wish I could do that!

    I also realised I really must add a profile picture because all your other comments come from people with really cool photos or paintings and I just have the standard WordPress pattern.

    • October 15, 2009 3:23 pm

      Give it a go – you can! All you need is some blending crayons and a good photo to copy – just softly colour what you see – building up the layers until you’re pleased with it or until your fingers cramp up. I can assure you that it is very pleasing to do.

      You can have fun with a profile photo as well – on my last journal blog, mine was an insanely grinning hat mannequin 😯

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