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April 11, 2005

Portrait of Michael Hall

by sven at 12:31 pm

My friend and personal tech guru Michael Hall asked for "something creative" for his birthday. So I decided to paint a portrait of him. Portraits, I figure, are a very appropriate way to celebrate a person's birth.

I started with this photograph, which Michael uses as a by-line for his on-line columns:


Next, I fiddled with the image in PhotoShop -- mainly using "posterize".


I applied "find edges" to the image, printed it, applied graphite to the back of the paper, and transfered the image to to a 5"x5" piece of hardboard by tracing its lines with a pen. The hardboard was gessoed, and I applied an undercoat of red. The image was painted in acrylic, and I applied two coats of "clear tar gel" to give it a glossy finish. The end product sort of looks like a porcelain tile.


To frame it, I used left-over wood from the flat-files project. The rim is built out of wood from the rails -- and is the first time I've cut a 45 degree angle since I got my new mitre box. I didn't have appropriate nails, so the rim is just hot-glued on. The "tile" sits on a riser made from another piece of hardboard.


Including photo-manipulation (which I didn't time), the project probably took 6 hours. I'm excited -- it's a relatively simple gift to make, and it has a high "impressive" factor. I've been wanting to get into acrylics more; 5"x5" is an approachable scale. I could see myself making similar paintings as gifts in the near future...

In fact, I've already agreed to do a similar piece for Michael's partner, Alison.

posted by sven | April 11, 2005 12:31 PM | categories: painting