On a whim, I decided last week to crack open one of my many vintage magazines and see if I could reproduce an image. I am beyond amazed that I actually managed to 1) finish something, and 2) find that I’m happy with the result, especially considering how flat and grainy the original image was! I especially wanted to throw in the towel once I got to rendering the hair (never my strong suit). Let’s hear it for perseverence!
To me, this portrait is a direct result of all the practice, practice, practice that began with the portrait studies of the “30 Paintings in 30 Days” challenge. Even though the reference image had matte colours and little light information, I had completed enough portraits over the last few years to be able to fill in the blanks. There’s no way I would have been able to do this without having put myself through that “boot camp”!
Every now and then, I like to get back to basics and do a proper study. Since most of the paintings that I have planned center on portraits of women wearing late 60’s – early 70’s clothing, an image from my copy of La Fileuse (a French knitting pattern catalog) from 1968 was a good place to start.
Being a sucker for punishment, I also decided to use only white and Phthalo Blue (“the priceless troublemaker”, as Carol Marine would say). Here’s what I learned from this particular experience:
I’m pretty happy with the results, but I have to say: Carol Marine was right about Phthalo Blue. Even the tiniest drop will have far-reaching consequences. Use with caution!
Along those lines, no amount of white on top of Phthalo Blue will be nice and bright. Best to use a light touch.
Because I wanted crisp lines along the edges of the painting, I applied a light coat of matte medium along the edge of the artists’ tape. The paint didn’t bleed, but it did form a kind of “shelf”.
Also, when you look at the painting from the side, there’s a slight difference in sheen where I applied the medium, and where I didn’t. I’m pretty sure that can be solved by applying a varnish all over, but that reminds me that…
… I forgot to varnish the painting before removing the tape. Oops.