The Many Faces of a Portrait

In the Spring of 2014, the focus of Saturday morning’s portrait painting class was a series of three portraits with the model Andreina Mehtab.  Each began with a study of a sphere using multiple layers of paint over a varying ground color—one the natural color of the canvas, one an Earth orange mixed from Venetian Red and Terra Gialla and the last a darker ground—a process that was then repeated for each portrait.

Two truisms emerged:

  • Sometimes the start is much better than the finish;
  • Sometimes the time allotted is not enough time to finish, especially when you’re struggling to surpass what was a great start.

The gallery below shows a start and subsequent evolution.  There is a simplicity and economy in the start of the portrait that is lost over time.  The one benefit to a promising start is that it may inspire you to keep pushing.  It did for me, and, at the end of the course, I brought Andreina into my own studio to try and bring the work to a satisfactory conclusion.  This too proved to be more of a challenge than I had anticipated… but good to revel in the fight as much as the result.

You can see the final result on my website.

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