Portraits of Friends

Words by Shaun Smith, images by Shaun Smith and Ian Macbeth.

When I first started to do portraits I was using an ordinary type of pencil.  I found the results to be a bit cold and soulless.  I found that the similarity between pencil shades and black and white photography narrowed my range for interpretation.  I believe that if a drawing looks like a photograph then it defeats the point of drawing in the first place.  It may as well be a photograph.  I have always admired the Renaissance artist Raphael.  Like many artists of his time he made numerous drawings and studies in a type of red chalk.  There was something about this colour which attracted me and I started to do portraits using Sanguine  Conté.  I found the results to be much more satisfactory than my pencil efforts.  I was more interested in the soul and personality of my subject.  I have gradually developed my own method and technique and I find I learn something new with each portrait.  I think there is something very unique and personal about Sanguine work.  It is probably my favourite medium to work in.


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