HOW SHOULD THE OLDER WOMAN BE PAINTED?
I love the challenge of painting the woman, or man, of a certain age. I don’t go for typecasting the elderly subject as saint, venerable old sod, or ancient harridan, not being such an admirer of fixed genre.
Nor do I aim for photographic likeness. Painting a “portrait’ for me, no matter what intentions I start with, ends up as expressionist experiment––a chance to paint Alla Prima within a certain time limit. To work fast and furious.
CAN WRINKLES BE BEAUTIFUL?
The upstart in me adores wrinkles, the more the better, because they lend expression, and the lines almost paint themselves into a ”found” composition. I find beauty in that. (That said, I am not crazy about my own wrinkles when I brave the mirror, but oddly I loved them those times when I have done self portraits, no other human subject being available. I like to think I have been honest enough to do a pretty good number on myself, but that’s a subject for a future blog on Self Portraits.)
When a model is totally her honest self and past the stage of making herself glamorous. It’s contagious. “The Lioness in Winter” was my muse of complete abandon. She was so natural, I felt given permission to let myself go, and not dwell on outcome, but process.
FRANS HALS, MASTER OF THE ALLA PRIMA PROCESS.
Frans Hals, for me embodies the spirit and drive of Alla Prima painting, most particularly in his quick studies and later “unfinished” work. When I do portrait, I feel on that kind of wave length: surprising myself with an unpredictable line drawing of the brush; creating a kind of pentimento of one line juxtaposed next to another; leaving no time for hesitation; finding myself executing a confident brush stroke that does the drawing, letting the drips gather where they want.
I guess a lot of what got put down on these 2 pieces is me, what I was feeling that day. I hope the model didn’t resent me for what ended up on canvas!
THE LIONESS IN WINTER 2
THE PAINTING SKETCH AS CHARACTER PORTRAIT
Both painting sketches were done in roughly 3 hours, using a limited palette. Critiquing now, I see that they are not “pretty” ( as see below, my prettier effort, “The Model in her Springtime”). Maybe they don’t possess “hang-over-the-fireplace” appeal. And yet I am attached to their worth.
THE MODEL IN HER SPRINGTIME
They may even be considered ugly, but I wanted them to succeed in the spirit of what some consider the uglier works of Lucian Freud or Picasso. Unsure of myself, I have still dared to show them. Whether they fall short of my own aspirations to be totally painterly, or valid, they were my artistic truth then, and I hope to do better, next time.