Homepage
GalleryIndex
Paintings
Oils
Acrylics
Watercolor
Landscapes
City
Country
Sea
Boats
Still Lifes
Figure
Portraits
Nudes
Early Works
Experimental
Drawings
Grafic Design
Portfolio
Ekphrastic
Price list
Sold Art
Old Gallery
Information
Links
Contact

Mirra All Dressed Up

A work in progress

Mirra is my new grand-niece. I was very impressed by her liveliness this Fall (2003) and asked her father to send me some recent photos. I held off as long as I could, but finally, I have started a portrait of her "just for fun". (No, no, the picture to the left is not the painting. It's the photo.)

Early February, I blocked out the figure on a 24 x 30 inch canvas. I couldn't resist putting the face in. Dean's comment: "The eyes are too close together." (It's so nice to have your very own in-house critic.)

I painted further on Sunday, then took the painting in to the workshop I teach and did a demo, showing how to fill in the space. I also corrected the eyes. Dean's comment: "the leg is too fat." (He's right, of course.)

I am getting interested in the reflections in the floor. (Yes, that's not really poop under her little dress.)

2/16/04 - President's Day and I am trying to get some sense of depth and dimension in the portrait as well as correcting problems in the figure.

2/16/04 - Later in the afternoon. Here the painting looks a bit murky, because I am still in the stage of discovering exactly where the limbs fall, and I did some "moving around," because it's important that the child really appear to be sitting on the floor.

2/27/04 - At this stage of the painting, most of the under-layering was done. I wasn't happy with the background (above the head) because I felt it had gotten too dark and grey. However, the painting got a rest, as other challenges and calamities got handled.

4/3/04 - I am finally happy with the painting, in time to submit it to a judged show. I may do do a tiny bit more work on the toes on the foot closest to us. I took a photo of the final painting and of the original photo with me to a morning meeting today and got two interesting comments: (1) "Oh, your portraits are obviously your forte" and (2) "You've captured her better than the photo."

Now, first of all, I don't think that portraits are necessarily "my forte." I struggle with them. But I do like painting people. However, the individual who made this comment obviously feels more comfortable with "photographic" or "realistic" art. I didn't say anything, but my opinion is, if you can take a photo of it, why don't you? It is my belief that the existence of photography frees the artist from having too slavishly duplicate anything. The "art" in a portrait that is done from a photo will often be in the "editing."

Secondly, how can you "capture her better than the photo?" I can answer that. First, I know the child, and that's better than the photo. In doing a portrait of her, I'm not only capturing what's preserved in the photo, but my knowledge of her as a person. And second, what's so great about a photo? They really don't faithfully capture life. Really, I hate to say it, but they don't. Their colors are often blurred and "normalized" and muddy. And they don't "know" the life of the person.

 

 

Last updated: July 29, 2005
Copyright c. 2004 by Pam Coulter Blehert. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.