Monday, September 1, 2014

Finishing A Portrait

This shows all of the progress shots of "Phoebe" 9"x12", oil on panel, including the finished painting. It's always hard to know exactly when a portrait is finished. In the way that I work, wet in wet, re-touching areas becomes a very tricky business. The idea is to proceed slowly and carefully enough that very little touching up is necessary. What happens very often when you re-touch is that the new brushwork doesn't quite mate with the old, even if you oil out. I did do a little retouching on the face. I wasn't quite happy with the highlights around the cheek and the lower lip was too prominent. So in spite of my apprehension I went ahead and re-worked those areas. What usually happens when you add paint over an alla prima style painting is that you have to pretty much repaint all of the adjacent areas until the new areas seem to harmonize with the old. There's no way of telling how far that will take you, sometimes it can mean repainting the entire picture. Anyways, I'm very happy (for now) with this portrait done entirely from life. Phoebe and I got to talking about what a portrait might communicate about the model and she asked what did I see when I looked at the portrait? I said that overall the impression I get is of a young woman who is very earnest, serious about what's to come in life, but still very much a young woman caught up in the things that young woman are caught up in. Hopefully that comes across to others as well.