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Mike Derby Portrait Blog



  • BOB73 said:
    I've learned a lot from Mark too but it is amazing how much I've picked up here in the forum. Some times it is someone restating one of Mark's comments or tips but there are a lot of original thoughts coming out too. So many people were already expert in another style but came to the forum to grow. It has been beneficial to all of us.
    Too true.. who knew there were so many HATS out there?
  • No, not done yet.  I would actually be pretty happy if I had even had the opportunity to work on it this week.  Mournfully, I have not touched it since last Saturday.  Perhaps a little tonight and more tomorrow.
  • In the annals of insane weeks, this last one ranks pretty high.  I won't bore you with all the hinky details but suffice it to say, no art got done, and I got a little wierd (er).  Finally got back to the drawing of the happy family today and it is a little over half done.  I have about 16 hours in it so far, which includes photo processing.  I tried to get some help by having the photo professionally printed and it came back a yellow mess.  There is no way I could match a color to it.  BTW, I am embedding little random hat shapes into the negative spaces as a gag.  The one who finds them all wins a prize from @BOB73
    ... yet to be designated.
  • Hope your personal life settles down again!

    Surprised to hear your photo came back so wrong, I would have expected it to be more colour accurate than home printed photos. 
  • What a nice feeling being out on a limb. This will be the first time I view a portrait with a jewler's loupe. I /had many hats and I wouldn't part with any of them. The pri ze will no t be   hat. But I'd gladl  give aw y thi keyb ard
  • It is a questionable photo and I know it will be hard to see, but you will get the idea.

  • SummerSummer -
    edited August 2017
    @MikeDerby ; I'm a little confused so I'm withdrawing from this contest--haha.  Summer
  • Don't you need a license for something like that?
  • Ok, so it's going to be a "MAJOR AWARD".  Don't miss out.
  • No FAiR @MikeDerby Everything looks like a hat to me ever since I got my pupils dilated in Hattiesburg, MS. (I'm not beneath making jokes about Cape Hatteras, so watch out)
  • I am going to embed you in the painting somewhere with great big eyes and a tiny little bowler.
  • BOB73BOB73 -
    edited August 2017
    Big eyes? no way but I'd love to have a felt Derby. It's just the thing to start a fight when I go to Cut 'n' shoot. BTW if Richard P wears a derby it's called a bowler When you or I wear a bowler it's called a derby. You should have known that but that's OK, I didn't know my name was a palindrome. Also a bowler is sometimes called a bob.
  • I did know that, but one must not abuse ones own name, and Ollie preferred a bowler.  This may have gone too far.  I think I will paint now.
  • Setup is finally complete and I am ready to mix paint.  Photo processing required 44 full color prints.  24 were used to trace the image onto the canvas.  I will use the golden lines to lay in the fine details more accurately.  All but 8 of the remainder of the photos were experimental until I settled on an approach. Hopefully I will be able to do this from a half size enlargement because the pixelation is a little too much at full size.  Plus, the color changes.  The photo looks one way on my monitor but another when it comes out of the printer.  I have to set the photo to some pretty weird looks to get what I really want from the older HP printer I have.  If anyone has a recommendation for a wide format printer, let me know.  I am in the market.  Is anyone familiar with the Epson Workforce WF-7610?
    I am also thinking through how to mix and store this paint.  I need a LOT.  The whole bottom half is black or dark brown etc.  I am thinking seriously about laying in the darks without pre-mixing, then working each figure as a separate mix.  I am pretty sure most of it will dry before I finish.  I need jars of paint, not snap caps, if I am going to premix it all.  
    By the way, I created a new traveler system for my Carder homemade easel and posted it in Studio.  Check it out.  Its da bom.

    [Deleted User]BOB73SummerIrishcajun
  • Laying in a lot of blacks.  Much of this will get covered up with woodland detritus but its hard to fill it in. The ground area is brownish black.  The bluejean area is blueish black, the dark jackets are black or grey with some green reflected light, and the evergreens are greenish black.  So I am having a ton of fun with Black!  I am almost ready for the next value group, which is brown.  Yay.

  • edited August 2017
    Are you using Geneva Black?
  • A bit blackish if you ask me.
  • I am using some old black homebrew SDM so it won't go to waste.  Its been in my fridge waiting for a project for months.  
    It IS blackish, and it is hard to see in these lo-res iphone pics, but when i start laying the similar colors over top of them, it will start to work.  The edges will knit together correctly and the reflections will be complementary.
    One note about brushes.  I used the largest brush ever since my Bob Ross days to start this, a one inch filbert.  It was great.  I covered a lot of area quickly.  Its a W&N.  The half inch Rosemary, on the other hand, dropped hairs all over it and I abandoned it for my trusty Escoda's.  Also, the Rosemary was not laying down the paint.  It was streaking badly.  The Escoda let go of the paint much better.  Maybe i have the wrong kind of Rosemary.  
    Last, the Epson printer of choice nowadays seems to be the P-400.  Any experience with it?

  • Hmm.. what Rosemary brush was it? Not seen that issue with mine..
  • Check that.  It was a Raphael, which I have had the same trouble with before.  I think I am going to toss it.  I will look into the epson artisan 1430.  Thanks for the tip.

  • I have the Epson artisan 1430. It has been discontinued now but you still may be able to pick one up. I have used it a couple of times for printing photos for painting and found it  moe than acceptable, however I don't like working from photos so it hasn't had much use yet. I used it for the horse painting and the duck in the no blend challenge. There is no scanning capability with it- which is no biggie for me, I have another printer for that, I wanted to spend my money on a printer where all the design and technology was just about the printing, and not pay for multifunctions that I wouldn't use.
  • Mike

    I love my Epson Artisan 1430. 'Bout a year old now and produces stunning prints every time, first time.

    I suspect it has been discontinued because it has been superseded by a new model. Check with your dealer.


  • Miss Amanda became Mrs John today and I was the wedding photographer.  I took both their paintings and they loved them.  Amanda did not know it had been done and had never seen it.  It was a nice surprise. I am giving them to the couple, along with about 800 photos, as a wedding gift.  Tomorrow we have a wedding shoot at a studio I rented.  There is the cutest little Chinese flower girl who would make a great portrait model.  Unfortunately she is a little camera shy.  I hope she goes on my list of things to do.  Tomorrow afternoon I start back on the happy family. Boy that thing is big!
  • Looking forward to seeing this one develop Mike!
  • Great news @MikeDerby My congratulations to the bride and groom. I had no doubt they would be happy with the portraits. Take a good picture at the studio of them together for a later portrait. Since you mentioned the big canvas, may I suggest bigger brushes?
  • If any of you wish to see more detailed progress on the Happy Family, I will post WIP video at  I don't have any interest in becoming a YouTube personality for various reasons, not the least of which is that my employer will not appreciate it.  But my DMP friends are welcome.
    Here is the latest photographic evidence that I am challenged.  Pay no attention to the blown out white part.  It is not there.  I just pulled in close so you can see how rough and loose it is to this point.  This better work.  Its been plenty expensive so far.

  • Amazing how different the color is from when you put it on your palette. Good work. When this is over you won't think you invested too much time or money.
  • Still plugging.  Time to stop for now.  New video at my site.  I realized the videos are helping me cope with the size of this thing.  Its a distraction but still on topic.  The yellow is out of sequence but it is helping me to navigate.  Go to spotify or you tube and listen to the first three songs on Paul Simon's "Still crazy after all these years"  "...Found a rug in an old junk shop, brought it home to you. Along the way the colors ran, the orange bled the blue..." What a genius.

  • Starting to take shape a little bit, I guess.  Still sticking to the darkest darks and one or two steps up from that.  I don't expect it to look like much for awhile yet.  I do see some nice depth developing tho'.  But I am not too happy about the oxidation of the deep greens on that faraway tree. Will have to oil it out after it dries to check it.  The nearer pine looks too light in this photo.  Will double check it later.  Hey @Richard_P , I glazed the boy's jeans tonight and it made all the difference.

  • I see some nice depth developing, @MikrDerby. Slow and steady does the trick, hey? I have to keep telling myself that when working on a big painting. It's all about patience. You seem to have it all under control. When you oil out the problem with the green should resolve. I think this is going to be a masterpiece. :)
  • The whole shooting match ...

    ForgivenessPaulBJulianna[Deleted User]
  • I can see the figures trying to emerge from the background like birds breaking out of their shells. The anticipation builds!!!!
  • Are you sure you have enough reference pictures there? ;) :p
  • I'm looking forward to seeing this come to life. You've put in the hard yards.
  • I love seeing the painting starting to emerge when people post WIP photos of paintings at this stage.

    Keep going!
  • I also love to see the WIP progress.  Thank you for taking the time to post.  I am looking forward to the next stage.
  • Wow. It must be satisfying to finally get some color there but don't be pressured to work too quickly. Thank your lucky stars for getting such a great photo to work from. 
  • Crikey this is looking good. That bit of colour gives a real sense of what is about to emerge.
  • Great job! What a treasure for the family!
  • Did you use the same blue (tube) for all the values (it looks good) just curious.
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