Sunday, March 27, 2011

Painting the model from life

Painting the lovely model, Kerrie, from life (at Sarah Kidner's Canmore, AB studio)

"Kerrie", oil on linen, 12x16

This is my painting of "Kerrie", 12x16 which was painted from life in Sarah Kidner's beautiful studio in the mountain town of Canmore, Alberta.  (see photos below).  Also painting that day were my friends,

This painting was painted in a 3 hour session which is pretty quick for me.  I feel the painting is a great start and I'm quite happy with it.  But, if I want to finish it, I'll have to resort to photos of the model taken at the end of the session, which can never be compared to the real thing - painting from life.

I consider myself to be a 'life painter' meaning that I paint what's real and in front of me.  That's easy to do when setting up my still lifes to paint, but the model often cannot sit for the number of hours it takes me to finish a painting. So, when this happens I must resort to using a photo reference to complete it.  One of the great things about painting from life though, and what I love about it, is that so much of the visual information stays with me.  Even when referencing a photo later, to complete a painting, it's the 'start' which will guide me and bring the model back to life in my mind. 

I'm happy with this 'start' and I might consider completing this painting.   When doing this, the challenge will be to retain the 'freshness' that is so much in evidence in a painting painted from life. 

On the other hand, if I elect not to finish this painting, I will keep it in my studio to look at.  Each time I look at the painting it will serve up a myriad of fond memories of the wonderful day spent with my amazing friends, painting from life. 


  1. Great portrait, Bobbi! That shadow on her cheek looks luminous.
    I'm looking forward to running into you at the Calgary School of Art!

  2. Hi Ingrid,
    Thanks so much! It was a great day painting with friends...I look forward to joining you one of these days to paint the model, too!
    I hope we run into each other lots, Ingrid ... we'll have to make it happen :)