Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Coming together -- a happy time

After a long and delightful day at school today, I came
home to a super supper (not my night to cook) and then
my model, Claudia arrived. We managed to get in three
sessions before it was time to quit. Each sitting was between
10 and 12 minutes long.

I've probably done six paintings of Claudia at least,
so in some ways the code of her appearance is in
my eyes, heart -- I'm not sure how that works,
but there's an ease there.

Session One today

I begin to block in the red in the pillow,
the yellow (for now) of the chair

At first I am in a way shot back to the beginning, feeling my
way into the painting again, after a day away. The basic bones
make me happy, so I know I can build on the work.

Session Two
I start blocking in more of the darks,
recognizing that to hold the light
I need to establish some dark.

In the second session I remember to put some dark in, because I
can't illustrate the highlights of the white dress without a dark
colour. During this 12 minute time slot I decide to begin defining her
hair. I paint the background a dark combination of ultramarine,
deep purple and grey. I cover the entire background, and then
find it's too heavy even for an underpainting (which much of
the painting may be at this stage) so I spray it and wipe it off
on the left hand side of the painting.

The last session for today
I begin work on the skin on the face,
and neck, block in more of
the chair in yellow and work
on the hand and arm on the right side of
the image.

We had a great session today and I can see the painting emerging.
The nice thing about putting the images on the blog, is that
I can almost understand what I'm doing better in the
photographs than with the painting alone. When the model
is in the chair I am responding in a trance. Of course
I make decisions about colour, and brush size, but I move
around the piece mostly by instinct.

Tonight I kept remembering something Marcia Burtt said
about sticking with larger brushes.
So as much as possible I stayed with my favorite
2 inch brushes.

That's all for today. Claudia's coming back tomorrow, and I'll
keep you posted. I'm very tired now, and happy. I love
painting on this large canvas.

Have a happy-to-be-alive day.


Theresa Rankin said...

This is magnificent....I almost would not touch it!!! Some say a painting should look good at every stage....this is proof it can!! I cannot wait to see the finished will be stunning!

Barbara Muir said...

Hi Theresa,

Thanks so much. I can't say that all of my paintings fit the category of looking good at
every stage! This model is so inspiring that I am lucky to get into the "flow" zone, where everything goes well. Plus, I think it's always easier painting from life.

Take care,


Portrait Artist

My photo
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
I paint and draw on commission and for shows. To commission a portrait, or purchase one of my paintings please contact me at:
A major highlight in my career? Drawing Oprah Winfrey live via Skype for her show "Where in the Skype are you? Galleries: Studio Vogue Gallery, Toronto, Canada. The Amsterdam Whitney Gallery, New York City. Gallery at the Porch Door, Kingston, Canada. Your positive comments on this blog mean the world to me. I'd love to hear from you!