Research on surface for Pt 2 and Lucien Freud

National Portrait Gallery. 2018. Lucian Freud. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 3 January 2018].

Tate. 2018. Lucian Freud. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 3 January 2018].

Painting on metal has apparently been around for a very long time (renaissance), the choice made due to its archival properties over the lustre that may have shone through the paint.

In modern times, longevity may be the passing thought over the backing colour adding to the effect of the painting., but extra depth to the work is a must.

Lucien Freud (as our course material tells us) used to paint on copper, not all the time, certainly his works I saw at the National Portrait gallery and the Tate Modern were on canvas, his later works have an overworked life that isn’t totally evident until you are in front of the paintings, I can appreciate this, although as his average time for one of these paintings was 140hours, I can’t say I have the patience still. DSC04673

The picture to the left, of Jacob Rothschild (Man in a chair) oil on canvas [1983] shows a man under harsh lighting sitting uncomfortably in a chair wearing a suit. The colours are all earthy and there is a hint of the space we are in with what looks like a doorway behind the sitter. Freud showed the mans age through the receding hairline, the wrinkles (none of them spared) on the face, the light hunch to the shoulder.

The suit is uncreased but the hands have me fascinated, they are as much in focus and as worked in as the face which meant they had to have interest to the artist, because the suit and background are done in the lighter touch and I’d say where finished in one sitting.

Freud’s only kindness is in the honesty with which he paints people.

His use of copper seems to be in his earlier work which is smoother, more polished and less like the people he has painted, even then though, he worked on canvas too (as below in girl in a bed(oil on canvas) from 1952 this picture has the warmth without the metal.fullsizeoutput_2484

The first of my 2 attempts on copper is the more refined painting, its closer to the photo I was copying and still has texture, the second painting is more like an Orpen  I saw at the National portrait gallery but was a bit high for a photo. Rosslyn Erskine Wemyss, Baron Wester Wemyss [by Sir William Orpen oil on canvas, 1919] is a portrait that seems unfinished, I think this gives them an energy in the sitter, an urgency that they may not sit for long.

I appreciate the warmth of the copper coming through, a shine that can be an uncertainty that makes you take a second look. I need to work on my portraits to be more confidently accurate, it will come with time, and oils take up space to dry, (I’ve still got 2 large canvases of my children hanging off frame in the shed drying) so its going to to take that time, but I am going to return to copper in the future, not for the assignment piece though, a collection of objects sits in a different medium in my head.

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