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Thursday, July 15, 2010

No Picnic Portraiture

I gathered all the photos and drawings for my second attempt at portrait painting; just the drawings are shown here. This project, like the last won't be a picnic.

In the study above, I put the two women, mother and daughter, together and noted with red lines the points the two figures have in common--the tip of the daughter's nose on line with the top of the mom's head; the tip of the mom's nose on line with the daughter's shoulder; the daughter's eye in line with a siding line; the elbow of the mom on line with the bottom of the daughter's folded arm. The wall mounted flower box separates the two and yet joins them together. The flower box is too long. I want more air around the subjects' heads. This is a psychological painting, a look at the relationship between a mom and her teenage daughter. This sketch is half the size of the paintings. The painting will be 30 x 15.

I plan to paint the double portrait flat. Unlike my portrait of Honey where I made a poor attempt to shade the figure to show volume, I thought I'd play up the flatness of the reference photograph. Unfortunately, they live a distance away and sittings would be impossible to schedule. Live sittings are imperative if realistic likeness is to be achieved. With no chance of that, photographic flat will be the style, ala Alex Katz.

Portraiture is a no nonsense genre--a risky business. A commissioned project, the client has the last word on whether the portrait is acceptable or not. The client's views affect payment. The artist can see the subject one way. The client another. Flattery,deserved or not, is very much a part of portraiture of living subjects. If they're dead--the artist can paint the subject as she sees the truth of course. My interest in Portraiture is just an extension of my interest in life drawing.

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