This is a portrait of a lovely lady called Linda who very sadly died of cancer last year. Her husband, Tom, commissioned me to paint an 18 x 24" acrylic portrait of her onto a box canvas and sent me the few photos he had to work from. She had a sparkly warm smile which I wanted to capture on the canvas so I started by painting the whole canvas a warm pink colour, which I picked out from her blouse. When that was dry I sketched her head and shoulders onto the canvas and as the graphite didn't show up terribly well I continued drawing with paint and blocked in the main shapes and colours. Once I had mapped the features and was happy with the under-painting I started to build the layers of paint to create the skin tones. The pink acted as a lovely binding colour on the face, as the fine glazes still let some of the colour come through, but it was a strong colour to leave in the background which I had always intended to paint dark green. At this point I sent a photo of the portrait to Tom who also wasn't keen on the pink, so that helped with the decision to go green! I still liked the idea of keeping some of the pink showing through to create harmony across the whole picture. Painting the background darker had the effect of highlighting her blouse, so after painting in her hand and working more on the overall skin colours, I focused on the pattern on the blouse. This was a painting in itself and took quite a few layers to get right! I worked on her jewellery and eyes until I was happy I'd got them right then referred to other photographs to complete her hair.
Merry Christmas (again)
8 months ago