Susan Engledow double portrait

Order from Chaos

This double portrait project with Susan was challenging and for a shorter period than most of our painting projects.  The main objective was to require us to work with a background that was constantly changing, needing to be simplified it into a coherent image.  Secondarily, Susan wanted to give us an opportunity to explore the compositional possibilities of two models sitting together.  These two objectives were realised by putting two models on chairs in the middle of the room with people working around them and moving about.

For something where so many bits went fine, I am a bit disappointed with this picture (though it is not as bad as this photograph suggests).  Perhaps I went too fast into the painting, in the face of a short painting time, about 15 hours.  I liked the play of the back of the head against the other model looking.  Yet if I had taken the time to work through the composition it would have been obvious how lopsided the weight of the picture would be.  Mainly due to the dark and ‘heavy’ head of hair.  Also I am unhappy about the pastel feel of the colours, especially in the background.  Perhaps it would also have been helped by working with the light rather than against it (which creates large dark areas)

However, there are many individual bits that I liked:


The hair has worked well, with form, colour and interest.

The form and tones of the bodies of both models works,

The interaction of the chair back and other chair arm is good,

The overall feel of the space is strong.

I like the result of partially drawing some of the objects in the background into the space, it helps define it clearly, while not being overly specific.



HeatherlyPatrick Earle