Atelier News: a reconstruction portrait part 4
The portrait is finished. It has the expression and contrasting colours that I wanted it to have. I am very happy with the way it worked out. I had planned a lot of foliage in the background, as most of the pictures that I used for the reconstruction of the portrait of this young man (who died 15 years ago) showed him in nature, in the garden. And in one that I particularly liked, he is sitting underneath a beautiful plumtree that I from the beginning thought I would add. But after I painted the first wet-in-wet background wash, with diffused, transparent colours (green and blue tones) it looked so beautiful and calm that I didn't feel like I needed all that detail anymore... So I have stopped, and if my client (his widow) wants the foliage I will most certainly add that. (And show it to you). Yet I have the feeling that she will, just like me, go for this poetic version... Until soon! Marina
Atelier News: a reconstruction portrait part 3
While happily painting Chris's portrait, I have now as extra input the portrait of his daughter Lucie. I painted that a couple of years ago, after meeting her extensively. A 'normal' portrait so to say, no reconstructing necessary! She has light hair and I didn't think she and her dad were very much alike (the only reason I wanted a photograph of her portrait alongside Chris's painting was to make sure the two pictures look good together as they will hang next to each other).
But as it turns out there is so much resemblance! It is amazing what you see when you truly dive into another person... The mouth, the look in their eyes, the stillness around them.They are beautiful, the little girl and her dad.
I have finished the basic structure and colours of his face (including beard shadow and very thick eyebrows) and worked hard on the shirt (always love doing the fabric and patterns).
To do: a couple of details in his face then his fantastic blue-black, curly, thick hair and last but not least - the background. All with the other painting in mind!
Soon I'll present the finished painting...
Atelier News: a reconstruction part 2
Reconstruction portraits are portraits that are made without the possibility of a life session. Based on pictures and descriptions, with a lot of interpretation and going back to the client "is this the colour of his/her eyes" etc...
There's a bit of detective work and the end result is often based on that, combined with pictures and sketches. To me, a great aspect of these reconstructions is that I am limited to working from photo's, and I like limits. Also lovely is the fact that you are creating a memory and a monument. Working from photo's is not at all bad by the way: they are often spontaneous, they are very patient, they don't move and they are strictly two-dimensional.
After a couple of talks, where we determined his pose, and sketches for the colours (the one shown here I made to get a feel for his contrast (he's very dark haired with a light skin) of Chris, who passed away 15 years ago, on a very young age, I have now started the first washes of the actual aquarelle:
Atelier News: another reconstruction portrait
I'm working on a new 'reconstruction' portrait. From time to time that comes on my path. This post is about two previous reconstructions. I write this to explain to you what I mean by 'reconstruction portrait': some 2 years ago I painted the portraits of two girls 'when they were little'. They are now in their forties and when they were 5 or 6 years old, portraits were made from their two sisters. But before it was their turn, the artist died and their parents never found another one with the same style... Until they met me, thirty years later. With the help of lots of old photo's (all yellowed, sepia, black and white) and interviews combined with sketching sessions with them and their parents, I 'reconstructed' the portraits. It was very interesting and challenging, the difficult part is of course that the input is partly from memory and descriptions and partly of photo's of often vague and unclear quality... But I could also meet 'the portraitees' in real life and although they were older, their 'colours' were still the same. I finished the job and the two are now in a beautiful composition with their two sisters! The reconstruction I'm working on now - and will write about in coming posts - is even more challenging, the person I am about to paint, has passed away. Luckily I have his wife as great source of information -as well as his daughter, who looks like him. If you want to know how it will go - keep watching this space!
From the Aquarellista headquarters 4
The portrait is almost finished! There are some minor details but they will have to wait until I have done the greater part of the next portrait - the other half literally of this one... My plan is to connect them using the background. Their personal colours are very different, but this will make the two portraits, like the two people, 'belong'... Anyway, since my last post I worked on the cooler floor and the rug and the warmer wall and chair (window basically left white!) and after that I adjusted the reflections in the glasses... The 'after' picture has much more likeness to the real person - his cleverness and perceptiveness are much more visible At this point I stopped working on it and handed it over to the new owners, who by the way are very content. But they will have to return it for the last strokes when I am in the finishing stages of number two, so I can align the rug, and the window. But that will take a while. I will keep you posted!