11 September 2007


Fabriano Uno SP, 600 gsm, 22" x 15" (trimmed). 5 hours.

this is the second rachel image, on a "small" half sheet, still twice as big as any previous painting.

this one pretty much fell on the page like rain. i projected the photograph optically and drew the outlines in soft carbon and got the emphasis i was aiming for. i made a few changes of direction, and planned to "umberize" the hair with glazes of green or raw umber, but then decided to leave it orangish: it works with the purple.

before i'd met rachel, but after speaking to her on the phone, i was mulling over the problem of background colors, skin tones and portrait character, and for some reason concluded that rachel would be a purple background -- dioxazine purple, specifically. totally instinctual. when she showed up for the first sit, she was wearing this purple top and a big purple crystal around her neck.

i caught several good images of rachel's outflowing gaze and i like this painting (though the digital image colors are washed out compared to the original).

this is freely traced, and the previous painting is drawn freehand. my "hand" ranges between precise tracing (and tracing requires a lot of skill, in terms of what you indicate and how) and the freehand of my figure drawings (see sep. 7). i have been experimenting with various techniques to mix the two, for example freehand sketching around a projected image, or tediously copying a squared image ... the different methods give different results.

i like the simplicity, flatness and open color of this and the previous painting. i realize i am letting go of the modeling of light as a physical fact and looking for light in the color, composition and face of the portrait subject.


W. K. Moore said...

Color harmony is nicely balanced. The teal background works well with the warms of the figure and couch. I had to zoom to see the detail of the shirt and was glad I made the effort. I also like the verticals of the books (low key) and their support of the verticals in the hair. I think you excelled in the drawing (always a positive) and her look is definitely healthy and serene.

Nick said...

I dig the flatness of this also, and you have nearly got a patentable method of painting hair - one of the special challenges of portraiture.