The portrait of a child by Carl Haag has always been one of my favorite paintings and when I recently rediscovered a small photo of it on-line, I figured it's time to try my hand at it. There is always so much to be learned from copying the work of an Old Master. The problem was that the largest reference I could find was still rather slow and grainy looking, so it took a bit of artistic judgement calls to make the painting look vibrant.
What surprised me most was the complete lack of lines in the face. Every little curve is a series of color dabs that are placed over each other to create the illusion of flesh.
The key was to get play around with value shifts until it finally fit in place. If a line was in place it had to be feathered out to give the face the softness it needed. I later realized that I left off the dimple in the chin, but I think overall it's a close match.
I struggle with painting hands and learned that the key was to suggest, rather than to copy each minute detail that I thought needed to be there. Carl Haag, who painted the original left the fingernails and knuckles rather suggestive, so I followed his lead and did the same. To my surprise it worked!
Matching the colors of the garment was a bit of a challenge and rather than letting it drive me crazy I went for a semi close match. I also toyed around with a bit more texture, especially when it came to painting the turban.
This painting is not for sale, since it will be hung in my own home. However, I offer canvas prints and can create a similar looking painting for you. Just click below for more info.