Minna Stevens - Faces
Head on Portraits
We focused on reconnecting with the head and facial expression in this portrait project. Minna Stevens was an excellent project leader, inspiring and devoted, you can see her work at www.minnastevens.com. One of the main points of focus was to maintain direct eye contact with the model, and capture the sense of connection that creates in the image. Interestingly, even when painting a side view, while the model has eye contact with someone else also, substantially changes the portrait from what it would have been if they did not have that eye contact.
There were many interesting things about this project. 1) Focusing on, being clear about and representing body language in a way that suits the portrait. 2) Using sensitive edges and including points that make the drawing while not being too defined. 3) the grey palette that I use of Viridian and Alizarin Crimson makes for coolish greys and the effect can be enhanced with some passages warmed up with earth colours, for contrast. 4) Finding a balance between the unconscious tendency to straighten and my conscious exaggeration of difference.
While these two pictures are rather conventional I enjoyed them for the direct sense of presence that they have, alongside a vibrancy that is clear but perhaps not overly dramatic.