Fanny/Fingerpainting, a portrait of Close’s mother-in-law, represents one of the largest and most masterly executions of a technique the artist developed in the mid-l980s. That technique involved the direct application of pigment to a surface with the artist’s fingertips.
By adjusting the amount of pigment and the pressure of his finger on the canvas, Close could achieve a wide range of tonal effects. Typically, he worked from a black and white photograph which he would divide into many smaller units by means of a grid. He then transposed the grid onto a much larger canvas and meticulously reproduced each section of it.
Chuck Close Fingerprint Practice
- Experiment with the ink pad until you can gradate dark to light values. Use different pressures.
- Draw a 6” value chart. (Don’t draw divider lines between values.) Gradate across your value chart
- Experiment with ink prints until you can create large to small line. Print with different fingers and try to get detail.
- Draw a 5”x 5” square and create an eye from your portrait.
- Label your work with your name and the title.
Once success has been achieved with the above steps, grid your black and white portrait and prepare a 22″ X 28″ paper for your thumbprint.