Thursday, September 20, 2012

new painting: "oh, to be older"

inspiration image
this next project bears some explanation in respect to why i composed it the way that i did. for sure it is unconventional and those who espouse classical composition rules will surely find much to criticize. but there is some method to this madness.
in this source photo of our grand daughter sophie, i caught her looking longingly up toward something while in her pj's, eavesdropping on the adults, and waiting to go to bed.  in the painting i wanted to emphasize her small stature, her longing expression , and leave the object of her gaze a mystery to be filled in by the observer. i decided that much of her body was unnecessary to convey the first two objectives and cropping out her dad would solve the latter. then i just had to decide where on the paper and what shape paper i was going to use. the vertical "portrait" orientation and not too big said 15"X11" to me. also, i would be lying if i didn't say i had a piece of hot press, 300# paper that exact size laying around, and frugality dictated the rest!  the last decision put her head and neck in the lower left of the page looking up and to the right. this, in my opinion left the picture a little unbalanced so i added the diagonally placed stripe along the far right of the painting.

so here is the drawing and the first light multicolored wash. please ignore the dark splotch of paint in the upper right from a previous misadventure that i'm pretty sure subsequent washes will cover sufficiently so as to make it irrelevant, hopefully.

i painted the features with my "new" #16 cosmotop round brush using scarlet lake, cadmium orange, and cerulean blue. i started with the nose and then moved to the bilateral eyes. cobalt blue was used for the irises. the small areas of arbitrary color is a light touch of prussian blue. all the rest of the facial areas were painted with the "flesh" triade. a touch of burnt sienna wet-in-wet for the brows and then i moved onto the hair. it is quinacridone gold, burnt sienna and burnt umber. i let some of it expand into the background to her *left*. this may have been a mistake....we'll see...just part of the excitement.

i needed to let the background catch up with the portrait. i wanted the background to be a sort of grayed down violet-blue. i initially put down a wash of alizarin crimson permanent starting at eh top with my #26 round cosmotop and working to the bottom in a somewhat (intentionally) irregular manner to give it some texture. i put an initial wash of prussian blue on the far right vertical stripe.

i corrected some of the features that were a little out of place, due almost entirely to drawing errors, by gently lifting and blotting, drying, and re-applying paint in the "correct" area. this was primarily correcting the shape of her *left* iris, the tilt of her nose, and lowering her mouth. this latter was most difficult because of her teeth. i think it is okay, but the whole thing is a bit sloppy and "make do." i need to have a better last minute perusal of the drawing in the future.

there are a couple of coats of ultramarine blue over the initial alizarin crimson in the background and a few dabs of paint in her hair. another layer of prussian blue was necessary to bring the stripe back to the value and hue i wanted.

i painted in the pattern on her nightie with the #16 round and cerulean blue. i grayed down the background with a light wash of raw sienna. this is getting very close to where i want it so i need to proceed with some caution. i believe some more texture in her hair and perhaps a wayward strand should finish it out. some dark detailing on the lace around her neck might also be a nice accent. the shadow on her upper *left* lip seems a little dark in this photo. i will check it on the original before making a decision to lighten it.

"oh, to be older"  (15"X11") almost done

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