10 Things I Learned While Copying Jonathan Yeo


Jonathan Yeo is one of the most talented living portraitists.  His subjects include Tony Blair, Nicole Kidman, Rupert Murdoch, Sienna Miller, and Damien Hirst.

I only recently encountered Jonathan Yeo’s works, but I took Betty Edward’s advice that I referenced in my post, Why I Drew a Can of Campbell’s Soup, and copied his portrait of Sir Michael Parkinson.

I used acrylics instead of oil paints, but I learned the following ten things while painting this study:

1) Jonathan Yeo has incredible control over his paint brush and color palette;
2) I am nowhere near as good as Jonathan Yeo;
3) I always go through a period of doubt while painting, but if I persist, good things can happen;
4) Focus on values, not colors;
5) But I still need practice mixing colors;
6) Be grateful to those who lend a hand when I’m stuck (thanks Patsy);
7) Acrylics dry fast when it’s hot;
8) A fresh perspective is helpful (I painted some of this study with the board and the reference turned upside down);
9) Painting is NOT a relaxing activity;
10) Do what I love to do.

P.S. John Singer Sargent said, “Every time I paint a portrait, I lose a friend.”  Fortunately, Stacie is still speaking to me.

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