Portraiture oils or charcoal

The last forgemaster in Wales

Portraiture is a real challenge for any artist. How to capture a 'likeness'. How to create an interesting image which communicates something about the subject to the audience. Something more than a photograph could ever do. That is the great challenge for the portrait painter. For me the first important decision when approaching a portrait is, what medium? Shall I use oil paint or charcoal. 

This is a big decision for me as the whole process will be completely different and the result will have a totally different flavour. 

Oil paint is more deliberate for me. More of a time consuming process, more contrived. Charcoal on the other hand is more free, spontaneous and therefore less contrived. I enjoy both mediums and I always enjoy the process of capturing a convincing likeness whilst retaining the freedom to interpret the sitter, to create something new and vibrant with the sitters help.