Charcoal Study of Richard W. Hale, Jr. – (original by John Singer Sargent)

Whoever said portraits are easy?  This little guy gave me a run for my money – the challenge was keeping Richard Jr. looking like a youngster (of perhaps 10-12 yrs) instead of a middle-age teenager with worry.  John Singer Sargent makes it seem so easy – this artists work fascinates.

The free-hand charcoal study (12×9) was done on Strathmore Bristol Vellum.  So why a challenge, it was his face and giving it definition while not taking his childhood baby-fat and innocence away.  Loved working his hair, a couple of areas photographed darker than they are – did you notice his hair-style isn’t too different from what we see our little ones fashion today (actually just like my teenage neighbor).

Work will continue on drawing portraits, let’s see 4 down only 496 more to go (if I had any chance to catch up to Sargents’ # (and that was in the last years of his life – what?)!!  Notice that the drawing has been revised with minor changes to skin shadows, eyes and shape of face.  Below are both revised and the original study.

Thanks for checking on ~

Revised Study of Richard W. Hale, Jr.

Revised Study of Richard W. Hale, Jr.

Study of Richard W. Hale, Jr.

Study of Richard W. Hale, Jr.


About Mary

Oil Pastelist
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41 Responses to Charcoal Study of Richard W. Hale, Jr. – (original by John Singer Sargent)

  1. have i told you lately how much i admire you for your discipline? you are amazing!

    • Mary says:

      Z, you are too kind – if I’m really disciplined, I’d get my rock studies done! Thanks for your nice thoughts. Bet you are glad to be home, find your luggage yet?

  2. ladyfi says:

    I really like this portrait!

  3. Healing Grief says:

    Is there anything you cannot do! You are very talented in every genre.

    • Mary says:

      You are very generous in your comments, there is so much that I haven’t a clue – the road of art is interesting, challenging and fulfilling. Thank you so much!

  4. restlessjo says:

    Every inch the petulant small boy. No idea how you achieve this! 🙂

  5. Millie Ho says:

    Very nice, Mary! I painted a child of a similar age once (he was the grandson of my head-of-department), and had tons of fun.

  6. Mary, I love this! And yes, drawing youth and babies is really challenging! It’s probably why I stick with animals and flowers! 😉 Your work is lovely.

    • Mary says:

      Hi Patsy, thanks very much! I wanted to ask, you sent a note yesterday that you couldn’t like or leave a comment – but I see you at least were able to leave a comment. I find that cleaning out cache will let you like again. Please let me know if you are still having difficulties, hoping there is nothing wrong with my blog.

  7. Love the fact that you challenge yourself by not sticking to any age or gender restrictions for your portraits! To deliver a youngster portrait is one of the hardest to do and you certainly accomplished that challenge and captured that innocence in his eyes surrounded by a fine superbly executed hair! Absolutely lovely and adorable portrait!

    • Mary says:

      Thanks Eva. My struggle is with getting the facial proportions correct and I’ll be doing many quick sketches (you gave me this idea of while ago – going out and sketching in 2 minutes), to start nailing this aspect much better so it’s not a struggle going forward in the drawings. I’ll scheduling this as a daily exercise. Have a great week! And thank you for your encouraging support.

      • Perfect idea! I always start my face with a circle and place a vertical line to divide (depending on the position of the head the line doesn’t needs to be in the middle) this line will be the guide to show where the nose will reside. After I place two quick horizontal lines on the vertical one to define the position of the eyes and mouth. While looking at your subject this will take couple of seconds to complete, after which you can start defining the shape of all the above, eyes, mouth and nose. The ears will always be placed between the two horizontal lines. You don’t need to go to much into details, just let your wrist loose and move quickly looking at your subjects to identify where those lines need to be placed. Try to place the vertical line always in different positions up to a point where you will get almost a whole profile. Knowing you I know you will master the 2 min with lightning speed and in a very short time it will be turned into a muscle memory combined vision memory at the highest level. Love, love your determination and passion and I’m always exited to watch your challenges and studies, to see you creating beautiful art and generously sharing it with all of us!

        • Mary says:

          Such great advice Eva. And it’s a practice that I should begin to do now before I go any further, or else I’ll start to build the wrong go-to sketching muscles and that probably will lead me to incorrectly draw proportions every time. I love reading what you wrote above, because when I got done drawing Jr. (notice that his head is tilted slightly) that I realized I need to practice quickly these line drawings for placement – just as you described, especially that part which refers to moving the vertical line. For me, drawing the vertical line in different places is a mental stretch that I know once I have that down the drawing will show properly in the end. So it’s a must do and so I will begin to quickly sketch portraits each morning, as a warm-up before I do anything else.

          Thanks Eva – exploring, discovering and doing all exciting in moving the needle forward.

  8. aFrankAngle says:

    Love the way you keep challenging yourself!

  9. Ogee says:

    I love all of your work, but these portraits are extra special, Mary. Just beautiful.

  10. sefeniak says:

    You were certainly up to the challenge Mary!!

  11. Painting for Joy says:

    Enjoying your portrait pieces Mary. Love the textures juxtaposed with the softness in his face. You captured emotion wonderfully. He looks so innocent and boyish. Excellent!!

  12. Portraits of small children can be ever so tricky! You stated it well. But, you’ve triumphed over the pitfalls! Sargent does make every stroke look easy, but each is brilliant. Beautiful work, Mary.

    • Mary says:

      Thank you Elena – I’m learning as I go here, I agree every stroke Sargent made is genius in placement. His work is just fantastic. You know I’m a huge admirer of your work and in studying your portraits you’re a master in placement of strokes, values and use of color. Thanks so much for your feedback!

  13. ĽAdelaide says:

    You did an outstanding job! I’m impressd!

  14. Don says:

    Love the portrait Mary.

  15. I think you nailed it, Mary. Beautiful!

  16. A.PROMPTreply says:

    I so look forward to your portraits now. They are so fun to compare with the original. I feel I am getting quite the education and for sure I am watching your improvements with each one you do. This one is very special. He seems to me to be a bit fuller in the face than the original, but it’s definitely the same kid and I totally LOVE how you did his hair. I can see you enjoyed that. It is PERFECT.

    • Mary says:

      Hi A! Thank you – these portraits are teaching me with each one I do. I couldn’t have picked a better master to base my studies off of. They are fun experiments.

  17. Gallivanta says:

    I can’t imagine portraits being easy at all! Yes, he does look very modern, apart from the collar. Lovely.

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