Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Kristen, 14"x11", oil on board

Kristen is Peter Scott's wife, and the proud mother of twin boys.

For this painting, I used a masonite board I sized with rabbit-skin glue and primed with 3 coats of lead-white a few months ago.

When Kristen sat to pose in the beginning, she had her head tilted quite a bit to the left. I thought that was a natural pose she felt comfortable with and expected her to fall back to it even if we adjusted the pose. So I decided to just go with the pose, letting her fall back to her comfortable position after each break.
Maybe because she was too comfortable in the comfy chair, Kristen started showing signs of fatigue early on during the pose. While on a break, she got a Coke and a candy bar to get a jolt. It worked for a while but she continued to struggle.

Expecting there would be considerable movement in her pose throughout the session, I decided to treat this painting more as a spontaneous and "smart" painting than a portrait type head-study. I focused more on capturing her fleeting expression and the impression of her rather than the acute likeness of a still pose.
From the beginning, I painted in a loose manner without defining anything firmly until the later stages of the painting.
To go along with this approach, I kept most of the edges soft with the exception of the bridge of her nose against the dark value of the far eye.

It certainly was a challenge, but in the end this approach also helped to bring out a soft and gentle appearance in her face — according to Kristen, Peter complained about her having a hard look on her face with a frown in the previous session.

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