Friday, May 13, 2011

Playing Dress-Up

"Playing Dress-Up"            18x24 acrylic on canvas
I am happy to give kudos and thanks to Bobby Jackson for allowing me to use his photograph of these precious little girls as reference for this painting.  I took a few WIP shots and will include them below after a close up of their delightfully expressive faces.
Those faces!

I started this painting with a canvas toned fairly heavily in M.Graham's transparent anthraquinone red, which is a brighter, more magenta color than the alizarin crimson that I sometimes use.  This peeks through all over the painting to help unify it.  Then I drew in the main shapes and shadows with thin alizarin and indanthrene blue by Winsor-Newton, also transparent colors.  I scumbled in some of the lighter areas to get a feel for the value ranges. I rarely use black... none in this painting.

Here I've added just enough patterning to the dresses to get the feel of the material without getting bogged down in details.  While their attire is important to the storyline, I don't want excess detail to distract from their faces and attitude.  I painted in the taller girl's hand over the shoulder, then decided to remove it for a cleaner composition.  That toned canvas glows through transparent layers in the shadows and skin tones... something that doesn't show up well in photos.


 Working on the second face now. The mouth on the little girl in shadow needs relaxing a bit and the eyes need detailing. I see some adjustments I need to make in the slant of the shoulders under the shawl... can you see the correction marks I've made with chalk?  This will also affect the attitude of the hand slightly. A tricky thing to add is the lettering on the Bible... very important to the painting but it can't be too bright... it needs to look aged.  I let it rest for a while so that I can see it with new eyes before making final adjustments.

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