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Digital Subscriptions > The Artist > May-17 > Ingredients for a portrait

Ingredients for a portrait

Caroline Saunders talks to Henrietta Graham about her personal project to paint distinguished chefs, and aim to tell a story in her detailed compositions
Albert Roux, oil on canvas, 30×24in (76×61cm).

‘Devoid of background, this painting is cropped closely to concentrate on the face. Albert Roux OBE is the godfather of British gastronomy. The great Le Gavroche was the first restaurant in the UK to gain three Michelin stars. More chefs than I can mention have been trained by Albert Roux. It is precisely for this reason that I just chose to examine the maturity, brilliance and experience in his face. There is very little else to be said. The palette is larger than might be visible with a warm hue incorporating Venetian red, burnt sienna, yellow ochre, viridian green, cadmium red/orange and Van Dyke brown, amongst others.’

For the last six years Henrietta Graham has been painting the most talented chefs in Britain. ‘My subjects are terrifically important to me. An interesting portrait is a fascinating face, or in an amazing environment or someone who is doing something interesting. I find the personality of my subjects through their expression, gesture and, on occasion, their environment and the atmosphere is utter inspiration.’

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About The Artist

Follow cover artist Henrietta Graham's example and set yourself a challenging project to create a series of paintings on a particular subject matter, or why not try something different from your usual practice to keep your creativity flowing? Our professional artist/tutors offer plenty of ideas this month, from how to paint loose watercolour landscapes by Lea Nixon, unusual compositions from a high viewpoint by Jo Quigley, and how to use pattern to dramatic effect in your still lifes by Penny German. Hazel Soan demonstrates how to paint a lively self-portrait in watercolour, Glyn Macey shows what you can discover by studying Rauschenberg's work and techniques plus we include articles on understanding the structure of the head and how to measure and see more objectively to help improve your figure work. Oil painters will love Martin Kinnear's new series on oil techniques, starting with the importance of value and chiaroscuro, while Charles Williams takes a thought-provoking look at the age-old issue of 'when is a painting finished?' With more besides, you won't be short of inspiration and helpful advice in this month's issue!