A turning point – painting Professor Green


JUNE, 2020

Sky Arts
Portrait Artist of the Week
Professor Green

I thought this was the last week and I was beyond thrilled to hear that Sky Arts were extending it for one more week! This week’s sitter was the musician, rapper and documentary maker Professor Green.

This week really marked a turning point in my painting style of portraiture and I feel like I’ve gone almost full circle. My original style of painting was quite impressionistic in style and then I adoped the more classical Rennaissance syle approach thanks to the teachings of Florence.

As time has passed and I’m becoming bolder and more confident with my decisions, the use of acrylic has proved almost revolutionary to me. I used to paint with acrylics several years ago however I adopted oils as I much preferred the handling and colour. Certainly for the Florence-style acrylics would be completely unsuited as you’re often reliant on the wet paint to achieve seemless tonal blending.

However I almost feel sad I didn’t use acrylics earlier as the handling certainly for these four hour painting sessions, is amazing. The rapidity of drying combined with the need for fast decisions makes this such an ideal medium for this type painting for me anyway.

It’s hard to explain how I paint in any formal process as there’s certainly a step-by-step structure but often I’m making lots of small micro decisions that jump from feature to feature e.g. I’ll work on the lips then decide the bridge of the nose doesn’t look right on the shading of the hair is wrong to build up a picture.

Professor Green. Acrylic on canvas. 2020

Alastair Faulkner

Acrylics have really allowed me to revel in this somewhat erratic process because if it doesn’t work, I can correct easily and quickly. Also using a very limited palette of six colours (titanium white, cadium yellow, raw sienna, cadmium red, cobalt blue, ivory black) has just allowed me to free my mind on mark making and develop this new style of portraiture. 

I’m really enjoying it and it’s such a buzz. 

“Acrylics have really allowed me to revel in this somewhat erratic process because if it doesn’t work, I can correct easily and quickly”

This week was truly a turning point. I feel a lot more confident in painting portraits thanks to the previous seven weeks of practice and I’m enjoying pushing myself creatively and trying new techniques. 

I’m really sad there is only one more session to go with this series.