Jane Bond - Medieval Princess

The energy challenge in portraits

Jane Bond’s thing is beautiful portraits.  As a project this one was refreshing, in that it was the first time for a while that we were essentially unrestricted, ie in type of painting, composition or palette.  Jane’s own pictures are complex, detailed, pretty and extremely well executed.  I recommend looking them up.  I found her charcoal drawings of particular note and strength.  Perhaps that is just a reflection of the fact that I am personally less drawn to prettiness in pictures.  She bought in complex gowns for the models and created an interesting set up.

The challenge I set myself was twofold.  First to zero in on the palette that I think I want to use, not having used it before and second, to paint with the same energy and freshness that we achieved with the Linda Nugent quick poses.  There is a tension between the immediacy of the mark making in quick poses and the consideration and care that can be taken in longer poses.  One challenge I face at the moment is to marry these together, but I have a sense that I can get there with that.  As part of that process I also did a larger scale head painting in the same pose as well as a semi abstracted but very ‘painterly’ abstracted pose.

For the moment I have decided to paint with an essentially earth palette, yellow ochre, venician and indian reds, ultramarine, supplemented with a phylo blue, for strong intense blues, blacks and off whites, as well as viridian green and alizarin crimson, for grey’s and pinks.  I am supplementing this with bright lakes colours for when I want to give the colour a lift.  Why this choice?  I do not want to use cadmiums (too poisonous) and want to focus on opaque paints (otherwise no solidity in feel). which ultimately leads to this palette.  The viridian and alizarin are very useful for flesh tints in their own right as well as making great greys.

HeatherlyPatrick Earle