Monday, December 29, 2014

Christmas and Easter Girls

As noted in several recent blog entries, the encouragement of Karen and friend, John McCabe, has lead me to devote more painting time to portraits.  "Tesla" comes courtesy of Paul Newman via one of his Facebook posts while a photograph Karen or I took a few winters back provided my "model" for "Amanda Home for the Holidays."

It still seems unorthodox to be “borrowing” images from Facebook without asking for permission, but how can I surprise friends with a painting if I tell them in advance?  This way, if it doesn’t work out (like one currently sitting on my easel that isn’t likely to see the light of day) I can always deep six the unsuccessful effort and no one will ever know.

                                                                  Tesla   12x12   Alkyd on Canvas

Wanting to paint something for Tesla's grandparents who are always giving unselfishly to others I chanced upon Paul's Newman's photo of his niece in her Easter finery.  He posted the original image on his Facebook page, a photo that  captured something extra special in her personality.  I couldn't pass it up.  My thanks to Paul for making this one possible.

                                      Amanda Home for the Holidays   18 x 24 inches   Alkyd on Canvas

Last year I tried two painting techniques side by side.  For one portrait I mixed the colors I wanted directly on my palette and applied them to the canvas.  For the second, this one our our daughter Amanda, I used glazing techniques where thin transparent layers of paint are applied over each other to achieve the desired hue.  Alas, I overdid it.   Mandy's backlit face looked more like she was trying to stay out of sight in a dimly lit room.  She needed light.  Thus, the painting has languished in a corner of my studio until early this winter.  OK, I needed to finish it.  This time I went over it just once with a thin layer of the colors I wanted and presto, Amanda appeared.
But wait, it needed one last critique.  Karen!  She had one recommendation -- "add snow flakes."  That meant adding white blotches over her hat and coat that I had spent so much time getting "just right."  Gulp!  I even put a few "flakes"in front of her face at which point I panicked and asked for third and forth opinions.  No, Mandy exudes so much warmth that any snow in front of her face would have melted.  Paint thinner saved the day just in time for our daughter to arrive home for the holidays.