The Lioness in Winter/The Model in Her Springtime

12/25/2011

 
 
 
 
THE LIONESS IN WINTER  1.
 

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.
 
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ruthrifka1@gmail.com
 
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