Here’s an early stage of a portrait project in an unusual collage technique, using painted and cut pieces of canvas to form the image.

40″ high x 30″ wide, on cradled hardboard

But to start at the beginning, the first step was choosing one of Rembrandt’s self-portraits to work from. Next, a drawing was made dividing the face into clearly defined of areas of tone. The full-sized drawing I actually used looked something like this but was cut up to make paper templates:

A few of the painted pieces of canvas used… some were left over from other projects and some were custom-made for this one:

Then the painted canvases, depending on tone, were cut into the shapes in the drawing. It’s a challenging technique! Working at this large scale helps… it’s a big portrait, more than 3 feet high, so the pieces didn’t have to be tiny. The pieces of the ‘puzzle’ are very abstract and don’t seem to have anything to do with eyes, nose etc until it’s all put together. Note that tonal value (light/dark) is more important than colour.

Using matte acrylic medium as glue, the face was gradually assembled. In this shot it’s underway:

And here’s the finished piece… another one that’s all about the expression:

The 350-Year Gaze 40″ x 30″ acrylic and canvas on hardboard

Squint at the image (or view from a distance) if you want it to look more realistic

Next is a non-traditional approach to ink-and-watercolour… try doing the loose colour first, THEN the drawing… gives unpredictable, imperfect but lively results. In this case I drew on the dry patches of paint with a chunky homemade bamboo pen dipped in black ink.

above, the splodgy beginning
then the ink drawing is added with bamboo pen

Here’s an experimental technique that’s intriguing to play with: draw (in this case I used charcoal pencil) on drafting film, and place the same translucent drawing over different backgrounds to get unlimited effects and moods.

More demos to come