Over the last few weeks, I’ve been able to finish the color work on the portrait of my youngest daughter, and this afternoon I was able to put a light coat of varnish on it. I haven’t taken the time to set up proper lighting for a really good photograph of the painting yet, but I was able to get a pretty good one under the lights in the studio. I’m completely sold on the underpainting/overpainting process at this point. Every color decision was easier to make with the values already in place, and I think it made this a much better painting. I fell like it really captures the infectious nature of my daughters personality. (admittedly, I’m biased on two fronts here).
I ended up choosing ‘Blank Canvas’ as a title. I always love having a blank canvas on the easel. It represents unlimited possibilities. That’s how Kids seem to view the world too. Unlimited possibilities. They have their whole lives ahead of them to do with whatever they choose. It’s exciting. So the title refers both to the blank canvas on the easel behind the girl, but to her as well.
For those of you interested in the technical side of things, I did something different with this overpainting. I eliminated the glaze layer entirely, and just painted with straight tube colors (no medium) right over the underpaitning. It felt like I had a lot more control over the subtleties of the blending, particularly in the face and hands. I also allowed a lot of the underpainting to show through, especially around the edges of forms, in transition areas and in the patters on the dress. It seemed to aid in keeping edges soft, and gave a little extra punch to the areas of higher chroma.
I really enjoy portrait work, particularly when I can add a thematic twist to it. If you’re interested in more information on commissioning portraiture, you can find it here.