Portrait of Emily

Ok, so I know it’s been months since I’ve posted a new image.  I have started working on several new portraits using a combination of live model sessions and photographs.  The portrait of Emily below spans about 75 hours of work.  The initial drawing, and color block in was done in class at the atelier where I teach, and I have continued to develop the color nuances and surface details from photographs.  This still has quite a ways to go – I anticipate it taking an additional 100 to 125 hours.

This approach, believe it or not, has actually been moving much faster than my last painting “Passages”, which took about 750 hours. I have been working directly on a celadon ground, which is prepared by mixing oil primer with Chromium Oxide Green paint. I applied at least four coats of this to an oak panel, sanding between each coat.  The end result produced a glassy-smooth surface with a beautiful light green tint ideal for flesh tones.

Unlike with my previous painting, which utilized a monochromatic under-painting, I have been working directly with a full palette, allowing parts of the ground to show through, particularly in the shadow turnings. This approach results in a more vibrant range of colors as opposed to the unified tonality that a grisaille or monochrome under-painting produces.

I will continue to post works in progress as this develops.  I’m also planning on doing another full figure painting of the same model buried in a pool of flowers.  Her beautiful features and soft, melancholy expressions remind me so much of the painted figures of the artist John William Waterhouse.

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