Monthly Archives: February 2010

3 people 1 portrait

Mr Heatherley 1

I am starting a project to paint a portrait including three whole figures.  This is the initial composition of my family sitting together on a bean bag in the studio.  I am using the straight lines around the edges to provide a more interesting framing and lead into the main parts of the picture.

Overall, the composition is about linear contrasts and conflicts, the lines of the floor , window, table and rug set against each other and against the linear diagonals of the family’s position, cut across by Guy’s leg.  This is compounded by the contrast of the linearity of the environment against the organic structures and movement of the figures and the bean bag.

The picture is contra jour so the play of light on the floor is dramatic as will be the shadows in the figures, offset by small bits of light touching the edges.  Lily, Guy and Fiona have sat in these positions for quite a while and it shows in their physical relaxation and the juxtaposition of their comfort with each others proximity and some creeping boredom with being their for me!

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Life at home

On the tiles

After gaining inspiration from Tai-Shan Schierenberg, I decided to try a similar technique with this picture of Fiona, in our bathroom.  In preparation, I drew out the picture and worked through how I thought the brush marks should be.  You can see in the drawing on the bottom right that even without tonality, the combination of tine drawing and lines marking the planes and changes in them gives the figure a real 3 dimensionality.

I am fairly happy with how the picture worked out, although I think that I fiddled with the brush marks too much, making it a bit tight.  Working through the brush marks before hand certainly helped, but the trick for the next pictures is to try and keep the freshness and integrity of each mark.  I want to try putting down some paint in places before making each of the major marks so that the mark itself become more differentiated.

I like the contrasts in the image, warm of the body, cool of the tiles, flatness of the tiles and form of the body, linearity of the tiles and organic curves of the body.  To me these all highlight the contrast between the coolness of modernity, its harsh revealing and insistent regularity with the complexity and individuality of the human condition.  The aloneness and vulnerability of the person in that situation and yet the wholeness, inner strength and beauty that is available to them.

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