The Character Portraits Project is out there!
Finally, after a seemingly long lead in, I suddenly felt up against the deadline to complete this piece of work...and so pleased I am with how it came out. To reflect, the project was funded by Arts Council England, and hosted by The Art Yard. 24 'sitters' were identified, who all had one thing in common..they are volunteers in the community, without whom everything would be so much more difficult. To honour them, their portraits were to be produced by 24 different artists and what a fabulous range of work was produced, both visual and oral through poetry and song. I was honoured to have been selected to create a portrait for Carol Jervis, a wonderful inspirational woman who does so much voluntary work in the Cradley Heath area despite not having the easiest of lives (total understatement). Carol is loved by many many people and it has showed in the messages posted since the portrait was revealed. I sat with her taking photographs initially, while the brilliant wordsmith Rick Sanders also gathered information about her life and background for a poem about her. For sure we did a lot of laughing that morning, and Carol did a lot of talking!!
Last Friday saw the launch of the project, where over 200 people got together to see the finished works. So much talent there and it was lovely to see the sitters and their families have their moment in the spotlight. Ricks poem was read by Dave Francis who really bought it to life. All of the works will be exhibited at The Art Yard from 15-20 October, and after that they will be split into collections for the Dudley & Sandwell Boroughs before touring venues locally. My portrait will be heading around Sandwell libraries I believe and I will post details as I know them.
I was pleased to be able to introduce people to the historic process of Gum printing, and below is a progression showing how the image came together. By using separate negatives for each of the three colours, I was able to produce this image using just three colours, Red, Yellow and Blue. I am really pleased with it, as was Carol and her family. Looks like I will be investigating portraits further, as up until now this is a subject I have tended to steer away from. Here below is a progression of images from the original photograph up to the building of layers and the final image.