I finally finished a second studio portrait of my daughter, Amanda. She is intensely independent, but not quite ready to leave the nest...this is the dichotomy I hoped to capture in the portrait. Completion of this painting required a long and convoluted process, not unlike the process of parenting a child.
|Fledgling Oil on linen, 24 x 18"|
The seed for this image came from a painting by Giovanni Boldini, entitled "Portrait of Joaquin Araujo y Ruano"...a striking piece from Boldini's private collection. I chose a similar pose for Amanda. In the final portrait, she sits on a chair which was used at our kitchen table when I was a child, a symbol of family, but also resembling a cage or restraint. Behind her is a window overlooking bare branches and a broad sky...the wide-open world she will enter soon enough.
|Portrait of Joaquin Araujo y Ruano by Giovanni Boldini, 1882|
To create this work, I followed a procedure described in a previous post. The whole process took about 40 hours to complete
A few key lessons I learned during the process:
- Don't force the model into a pose, it will look unnatural. Show the model what you're aiming for, then let her do the rest.
- My primary reference image was a composite of Amanda in a synthetic background created in Photoshop. I learned how to create Photoshop composites from Digital Art Revolution by Scott Ligon. Very clear descriptions with step-by-step tutorials. Indispensable.
- In my portraits, likeness emerges as the painting progresses. I am constantly adjusting the face to improve likeness, right up to the finish. I do whatever it takes to get the likeness, including moving features or scraping areas. If I'm using a photo reference, I often paint with the canvas upside-down.
This is probably my last painting of Amanda for a while. She doesn't want to pose for me anymore. I'm looking for a new muse...