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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