Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Alexis, 18"x14" oil on linen

Alexis is the career services coordinator at the Academy, working to help the students find employment.

A few days before the session, I asked her if she would like to bring any kind of simple prop for the session: hat, scarf, jewelry, etc. She brought a handsome blue scarf that she dyed herself. After seeing her put the blue scarf on her head, I hung a comparably intense red drapery for the background.

I started the painting with thin wash of abstract color pattern that would suggest the red background and balance against the blue in the foreground. It would also serve to "anchor" her head on the canvas. Unlike the painting of Ellen the previous week, I decided to keep the background to the minimum; I didn't alter or add much to the initial wash pattern. During the final few minutes of the session, I simply suggested the contour of her shoulders by carefully shaping the negative space created by the red background above and the white of the bare canvas.

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