Sunday, March 10, 2013

"a proper young lady": new painting

this photo i found in a local antique store and will serve as the inspiration for this painting.

while awaiting word from marti about the portrait of her late husband jack, i decided to browse through some of my photos looking for something to capture my imagination. i found this photo of a young victorian woman that i thought would be fun to paint. it would also need a light hand and high values to convey her femininity and youth. both of these are things i wanted to work on. in order to maintain due diligence i asked some local critics to keep and eye on me while work proceeded, just to keep transparency alive.

everybody's a critic

so after drawing the face and upper torso

i can't say they aren't helpful, and be honest
carefully on the back of a piece of 15"X11" 300# hot press arches paper (the reverse side may have a failed painting....i haven't decided yet), i put down a light wash over most of the painting surface. i used scarlet lake and cadmium yellow-orange (holbein) and applied with my #26 round brush. the blue is cerulean. i have gotten so used to things drying in literally an instant out here on the desert that i made a really rooky mistake and went back into a damp wash with a brush filled with a wet mixture of burnt umber and alizarin crimson to define her hair. voilá, instant back run, blossom, bloom....whatever you want to call it. now is the time for patience. i resisted the lure of going back in right away and trying to "fix" it.unless you are a master, like charles reid, you are unlikely to get the right proportion of water and paint in your brush to meld perfectly into what ever mess is already there. i must leave it alone until it thoroughly dries. something i should have done in the first place. so when it dried i was able to lift off the most offensive leading edge with a damp  cotton swab and you can see the result of this endeavor in the second photo.
drawing, initial wash, and beautiful bloom

after getting the bloom sort of calmed down, i tackled the eyes, nose, mouth, and some of the modeling using my #16 round and the same colors that i used in the first overall wash. this whole time i am trying to keep things very high key. i put some alizarin crimson in the background near the head. my thinking at this time is that here dress will be mostly a dark green, neck thingy violet/blue, and bodice insert thingy dark red. with that in mind i want to put in a warm, somewhat reddish, gray over the background, darker at the top, and maybe juicy enough to have a few runs.

we'll see. it is starting to rain and the wind is blowing about 45 mph. i think i will go in and warm up.

at the time the weather took a nasty turn

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