Wednesday, June 30, 2010

"Natasha" - completed painting, 16x12, oil on linen

"Natasha", 16x12, oil on linen

Here is the completed painting of Natasha.  My buddy, professional photographer Geoff Williams, photographed the painting for me.  He always does such a nice job.

To see the image larger, click on the image - use your browser 'back' button to get back to the blog.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

"NATASHA" - work in progress

"Natasha", 16x12, oil on linen, work in progress

"Natasha", 16x12, oil on linen, work in progress
"Natasha" - detail

I'd like you to meet Natasha. Natasha is the lovely friend of my daughter Danica, who has graciously agreed to sit for me in my studio one day a week for the past number of weeks. In addition to being a beautiful model, Natasha is great company.

Figurative painting has been a passion for me since I was a little girl drawing all the important people in my life. While I've managed to paint a few portraits and figures each year, in the last few years I've decided to get more serious about it. Since I paint from life, it can sometimes be a bit problematic finding someone willing to sit for me for the hours required to complete a painting. (I have many unfinished paintings in my studio, as a result.) In addition, being so accustomed to painting from life I've found that when using a photo I'm unhappy with the results.

This painting was done from a photo taken of Natasha during a life session and supported by numerous painted studies. I began this small painting with the idea of doing a 1/2 hour quick study from the photo, wiping it clean and beginning again with the same idea. My friend, artist Liz Wiltzen, encouraged me to try this, in order to approach painting from the photo as if I was painting from life. Liz has lots of great ideas and this sounded like a winner.

This particular morning saw me at my studio with this idea in mind. I grabbed a fresh canvas - untoned, gave it a quick wash of burnt umber and ultramarine blue, barely discernible from the photo, and enthusiastically began. Well, I must confess, 1/2 hour turned into an hour and pretty soon into an hour and I was having so much fun that before I knew it, I'd devoted the whole day to this painting. As I told Liz later, it was just too much fun to wipe off as suddenly it felt like I wasn't using a photograph at all. Mission accomplished!

In addition to working from the photo with hopeful results, I was able to paint 'alla prima', attempting to finish things as I went (Alla prima comes from Italian, literally meaning "at once".)

So, the moral of the story is...paint from a photo as if you're painting from life - with gusto, and follow Liz' exercise advice.

Natasha and others will continue to sit for me each week. Truly, painting from life is where progress and growth lies - and that's all that truly matters.

This painting is now complete and I will post a photo of the completed painting in a few days.