The world we live in has changed drastically over the last three months. We are now familiar with words such as lockdown, social distancing, self-isolation and Covid-19. It almost wants to make me shout ‘what happened?’ at the top of my voice. But then we all know we live in a transient world and things can change quite quickly, as they have done with the outbreak of coronavirus. I doubt life will ever be the same after this. The news has been really hard to listen to and the truth of the whole situation is a very difficult one to face. Questions such as: how are we going to handle future public gatherings, will everyone need to wear a mask in public, will everyone need to be vaccinated? keep popping through my head. And then there’s the effect this will have on the economy.
In the midst of all this, we creatives have to remain sane and do what we have always done – to keep turning out paintings, drawings or sketches. I know it can be hard to do in these times but if you were made to create, as I feel I was, then not creating at all will really make matters worse in the long run.
So creatives all over the world have been doing their best to make art in isolation or what some people call lockdown art. That brings me into the picture: I have found new subjects to paint.
I recently discovered a lovely man, then 99 years old, called Captain (now Sir) Tom Moore. In the midst of all this chaos he came up with a grand idea to raise funds for the NHS. He decided to do 100 laps of his garden and asked if people would donate to help him reach a target of £1,000 for the NHS. Well, he not only met the target but raised over 30 million pounds – a staggering amount. I decided to do a portrait of this gentleman as part of my 250 portrait challenge – a simple self-target I set up in order to improve my portraits by deliberate daily practice. I am currently on number 142, which happens to be Captain Sir Tom Moore. I will show you how an under-painting or an initial sketch turned out to be the final portrait for this legendary man. I really hope he loves it!
DEMONSTRATION The Legendary Captain Sir Tom Moore
The first thing I needed to do was source a reference picture to work from. I didn’t want to use any of the photographs on the internet, so I looked at a video clip. I observed Tom Moore’s mannerisms and body movements as he spoke, his smiles and everything that’s particular about him; I paused the video when I got to a frame that I thought really caught the essence of him. I then took a screen shot of that frame and used it as my reference.
To make the drawing more accurate – I planned to work on a 6x8in board with three coats of gesso – I uploaded my picture to Grid Drawing Tool by Art Tutor* and added grids that were similar to the ones I would be ruling on my board. I then drew from the gridded picture displayed on my computer screen