I have wanted to do this painting for quite some time but always got distracted by other issues and a couple of experiments in the past few months working in other styles and trying on some different subject matter. This is more of a return to a way of working that I feel more comfortable about. Getting out of that comfort zone has been a good learning experience, however, and always good for shaking up the stale rut I sometimes get into. I like working with a single figure with a simplified background and only minimal props. Here, too, I can concentrate on the flow and drape of fabric which is especially appealing to me. This kimono is an antique that I bought years ago in San Francisco; not a particularly valuable kimono but a decent, heavy silk and a lovely, subtle hand painted pattern on it. I used to wear it with a purple obi and felt very elegant in it. I have since given it away to a young woman singer in a band who wears romantic and funky costumes. The model in this image is the cousin of my ex, with whom I am on very good terms...Josette has posed for me a few times and I have used her in other works. She has a classic face and timeless expression, plus all her curly hair makes for fun painting. (I know about curly hair as I have a mop of it myself and it is NOT always fun to take care of).
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Thursday, September 10, 2009
I began this pastel a few months ago and stopped before completion when I felt unsure of how to proceed with it. On a whim I took it with me to an outdoor art show early in the summer and a very lovely lady saw it and fell in love! She called me last week and asked if I had finished the piece because she wanted to purchase it . The period of time I had left it "fallow" was more than sufficient for my brain to be working on it in the background, apparently, because I was able to complete it in one day. It is a sort of companion piece to the "Lisa" oil painting, being the same model, but the intention for the portrait was different. In the first Lisa piece I concentrated on the quiet but intense confidence I saw in her expression and her holding of a vase of silk Hydrangeas seemed a confirmation of that expression in that the flowers are delicate yet permanent...no wilting was going to happen. In this piece, done in the more fragile medium of pastel, she cradles a rare and wonderful Lyrebird. All in life is elusive and possession of anything is temporary - Lisa's wistful , almost weary expression conveys that sad knowledge. She wraps her arms around the bird, his tail embraces her head, and they share a comforting, if fleeting, connection. This tells a story, as do all portraits, and I am pleased to be part of an upcoming exhibit in January, 2010 at the Campbell River Art Gallery on this very topic. Titled appropriately, "Telling Stories" the works will include several artists who deal with portraiture but in very different styles and mediums.