Thursday, July 16, 2009

cherub portrait complete

The portrait is complete. Done. I had not anticipated getting it finished quite so quickly. I always struggle with small details and fuss and anguish over little things in the final stages of a portrait. Probably because it has to look like the actual person and the closer you get to completion, the more these small aspects become like beacons of distraction.
When looking at masters of portraiture I see two main directions: Loose and expressive and controlled and detailed. I cat keep the portraits of Michael Deas out of my head...his manner of working haunted me throughout this piece...every glaze and every brushstroke seemed to ask me if this was how he would do it. Nearly drove me bonkers. If it hadnt been for Jeeves and generous libations of tincturet of juniper and other aromatherapeutics, I may not have made it to the end.
What makes it so devilishly difficult is the absolutely cherubic goodness of this little face. Its still so unblemished and perfectly shaped and hued. I wanted to achieve this perfection and desperately tried to channel any 17thCentury old master who would be willing to step in. Alas, none appeared in my hour of need and it was up to me to twiddle my brush and smear the paint.
One always hopes you keep growing and perfecting your craft and I think I may have wandered a few more steps forward on this path even though I rather regard myself as a practitioner of other kinds of visual trickery. Nonetheless this one makes me happy and even though painted this piece, there is as usual a sense of surprise and wonderment at achieving the end goal. At the start of a portrait or other realistic work, I never manage to assume that I will be able to pull it off and get it the way I want it, so the final image most often comes with huge relief and some surprise at how it turned out.
There was last moment jitters and a last application of some pale salmon to sharpen a highlight and then a satin glaze to give it the final rich depth that only a satin glaze can.
I now embark on a painting of a beautiful house which stands on the steep inclines of Table Mountain in Cape Town. A house once owned by a very good friend. Its a place full of happy memories of wonderful times. Its a place I have stayed at and felt comfortable in. It will be a whimsical image... with recognisable exterior, but I shall not be inclined to adhere to any accepted perspective.
Jeeves has the day off and I am stranded in the solarium without tea. Thank goodness Im not helpless and can research the recipe for making tea online....IF I can find my computer's "ON" switch.

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