Thanksgiving break was a welcome and necessary reprieve for me. Although I did not get as much actual painting done as I had wished, I got an incredible amount of planning and idea generating done. I now have a clear vision of my path in preparing for my gallery show, and an idea of what my finished body of work will look like. This past week, I finally dove in to creating this body of work. Yesterday evening I had Gwyneth sit for me, and the Alex painting is almost done. Finally, the fantastical elements are beginning to incorporate themselves into my serious portraiture. I will be beginning my self-portrait soon, and have an even better idea now of where it is going (especially seeing as I got quite a few spider-slug studies done over break).
Below is the sketch and imprimatura for the Gwyneth portrait. I’ve included the imprimatura in both warm and cool light, because I think each holds the space a little differently, which is interesting to me. I haven’t yet decided which direction I will go with my color palate, but it is good to be able to see both possibilities. In addition, there is a close up of the face detail. As can be seen in the sketch, I am planning on giving her a dragon.
Gwyneth’s hair is certainly going to be the most difficult (and most fun) aspect of this one. I am not incredibly familiar with painting hair, so I have compiled some references for myself. First, is the work of Alphonse Mucha, one of the most prominent artists in the Art Nouveau movement in the 1890’s and early 1900’s He has an incredible knack for the silhouette and shape of hair (you can find some examples here). Second is a portrait of Alice Guérin done by Paul César Helleu. This one I had not previously known of, but found in my investigating. The hair is nearly identical to that of Gwyneth’s, although not quite so curly (here is the painting). Third, we have the famous Lady of Shalott, by John William Waterhouse, another example of beautiful long red hair (find it here). Fourth, comes the work of Sandro Bottecelli, who very much enjoyed his depictions of goddesses to have long curly hair. The one painting of his which I have singled out is Pallas and the Centaur, which can be seen here. And finally, there is the work of Gustav Klimt, another famous Art Nouveau painter. I have chosen the painting Danae, which features another woman with long curly red hair (here).
To finish up this blog post, here is the progress on the Alex painting, which is getting very close to done.
Some unique little dudes have wandered their way onto her painting, and while not originally intended, I think I like them, so they will be staying.
In the light of these new paintings and plans, I think I am certainly going to revise the background of my Maggie portrait to tie in these fantastical elements and creatures.
I am excited to see what I will get done over the coming month.