A portrait of M. and a house sparrow.
Posts tagged ‘portraiture’
I’ve often found myself frustrated while trying to realize form within a backlit subject. The bright back round light tends to flatten the planes of a figure or face, making it difficult to read the values necessary to create the form of the features. In a situation like this, the values are darker and often not as varied as one might hope. I painted this portrait with the intention of improving my skills in working with backlight.
As you can see, I started with a recycled canvas (covering an unsuccessful painting), and a charcoal drawing. The painting is essentially alla prima (if we can excuse the start in charcoal).
Portrait of G. 11″x14″ Oil on Linen
I LOVE to paint portraits, people, figures, gestures. In the hands of a skilled and thoughtful artist, Old Master or contemporary, there is no subject more compelling for me than a portrait. But, paintings of people can sometimes leave me less than satisfied. They can sometimes appear to me, too pretty, or too gimmicky, too separate from the viewer, or too…vacant. I wondered what would happen if I pushed all of these notions? So, I did.
With this third painting, I decided to glaze with opacity (a paradoxical notion), in order to create a ceiling, if you will. A separation between subject and viewer, like the photos I’d taken of debris, still, under a frozen pond. This painting is no longer a portrait because it does not reflect what I know about my subject. Here, she is merely reference for a painting. It speaks for me, not for her. Got to say however, that I enjoy this outcome:)
The three experiments in oils have helped me come to some conclusions about the way I like to work, what practical methods I find satisfying, and the thought behind what I want to make. I think that now I’d like to further explore both my appreciation for portraiture and my personal prejudices about portraiture, to see what might happen next.
Thanks for your kind comments and interest! I’ll keep you posted;)
Finished. A fairly large commissioned portrait of siblings.
My client requested a tightly styled, formal, smiling portrait of the four kids-two sets of twins!
The greatest challenge? Rendering really attractive children.