Tim Hetherington was a famous war photographer and journalist. I say was because, sadly, he was killed in Libya by a mortar bomb on 20th April. He was also a filmmaker and one of his recent documentaries `Restrepo', about a US Army platoon in an especially dangerous area of Afghanistan, won awards.If you wish to learn more about him go to www.timhetherington.com/
I happened to pick up this magazine when at my sisters recently. It struck me as a very evocative study which epitomizes the strain, pressures and danger that war correspondents/photographers, who do these dangerous jobs, are under.
This was my setup in my study - a converted bedroom
I first of all I made a loose drawing, as accurate as possible, with the help of a ruler. I did get the Variscaler out but didn't use it. This was to get the proportions right. I do portraits without them and am getting better at doing so but every little helps!
Stage 1 Eyes and Nose
As usual I started with the main features first, beginning as always with the eyes followed by the nose. My brush was the Isabey No 6 retractable. This brush, of which Jacksons sell two sizes ( I think that's all Isabey make), is very slim and pointed, much smaller in diameter than a normal 6. I find it excellent for this purpose. It is also good for small detail.
Stage 3 I completed the mouth and upper lip.
Tim Hetherington -Fontenay 16" x 12" Not
This required a different approach to my other portraits, one reason I tackled it. I used pan paints for the features and .put in some of the darker areas first with Manganese Violet (W & N PV16) heavily diluted. The basic mix then applied was my usual Cadmium Red Light/ Yellow Ochre mix adding Cobalt or Cerulean Blue where I wished to darken it - round the eye sockets and eyebrows. I then used a toothbrush to spatter darker spots of either Manganese Violet or Burnt Umber to represent the dirt and grime. I also tapped the toothbrush onto the paper when holding diluted amounts of these colours.
Apart from the Isabey, brushes used were the Da Vinci Artissimo 44 No 2 and Rosemary Series 33 No 6.
As you can see from the photograph his face is surrounded by dark areas with no visible detail. I did not want to put a very dark wash all over but tried to create the sense of him being in a war situation with all the attendant danger. Mostly cool colours Cerulean, Viridian (Rowney PG18) with Burnt Sienna and Ultramarine, mixed partly on the paper for the dark hair. I added Cadmium Orange (Maimeri PO20) top right and over his left shoulder to suggest the colours of warfare. Overall I'm quite pleased with it. Comments welcome.
Note Added 1/06/11: To avoid confusion and bearing in mind the comments from Mick and Yvonne (in an e-mail) I have changed the Stage 1 & 2 paintings so they are more accurate. They liked the very strong darks but they were inaccurate and did not represent the real studies correctly. Those now shown are actually a little lighter than the painting but are the nearest I can get. I frequently have trouble getting a fair representation of my paintings on here, probably due to faulty photography, and tinker about with the `auto correction' feature but it has misfired on this occasion. Food for thought for the future.