Victorian Gentleman - Soft Pastels
by Carol R Newman
This portrait is painted in soft Unison pastels on Ingres paper and measures approxinately 8 x 10".
I watched the TV serial of Margaret Gaskell's 'North and South' and simply loved the charaterization of John Thornton by the actor Richard Armitage.
For me, this actor completely captured and brought to life the hero of the novel. It was as if life's breath had been pumped into the character's lungs and the John Thornton I had visualized in my head for so many years stepped out of the pages. I felt inspired to draw this man. I loved his face; the shape of his eyes, his slightly aqualine nose, the small but beautifully formed mouth, the shape of his head and the way his hair framed his darkly brooding but graceful features. Initially we are introduced to the harsher side of Thornton's character. It is only as the novel progresses that we begin to see the softer more gentle soul which lies hidden beneath his scowling exterior.
I hoped to reproduce his face as a photograph and this was the challenging part of the project . . . creating the sharpness of a photograph whilst trying to illustrate the softness of this man's nature.I don't think I succeeded in doing that, but I tried. I am most pleased with the eyes. . . . I think I have captured the gentler soul within to the best of my ability.
I cannot say I would do anything in particular differently. I just looked at some pictures of this character over a period of time, studying his features most carefully and then sat down and drew this, trying to capture the understated little nuances and expressions from a series of pictures of this actor's face which I think is a very beautiful one.