Portrait of Margie

Portrait of Margie, Oil, 24x30 SOLD

I just recently finished this portrait and wanted to share with you my process. Margie is a wonderful person; sophisticated, charming, warm and vivacious! During the photo session, we took photos throughout the house and deck. Margie is photogenic and all the photos looked portrait worthy. Then we decided on a change of outfit and Margie invited me into the bedroom. I loved the warm lighting from her nightstand and the cooler lighting coming in from a window in which hanged a stained glass piece. Margie was all excited to put on her attire that she was taking on her cruise through the Panama Canal. We both giggled like a couple of girls playing 'dress up'. We both knew we had a winner!

Well, while Margie and her husband left for the cruise, and I got started on the portrait.

I began sketching with a brush and paint thinned with mineral spirits. I am most concerned with placement of the elements and not a lot of detail.

Next, I began to wash in some values. I am letting the white of my canvas serve as the light.

I begin fairly early to block in some color with thicker paint. I believe this photo was at the end of day three. I tried not to get too hung up in one spot, but I spent about the whole day fiddling with the face. It was getting close, but not what I wanted. I gave myself permission to take my time on this portrait and not rush too much. However, I did have a deadline to have it done for a Christmas party where it needed to be finished and dry to the touch for an unveiling. No pressure, right?

I have been working with a fairly complex palette: titanium white, naples yellow light, cadmium lemon yellow, transparent oxide yellow, cadmium orange, cadmium red medium, carmine, permanent alizarin crimson, king's blue, ultramarine blue, dioxazine purple, permanent green light, and viridian. My mantra was: cool vs warm, complements of yellow vs violet, blue vs orange, transparent vs opaque, thick vs thin and dark vs light. I kept the most detail to the face and figure, simplifying as much as possible, especially in the background. You can see around the head where I start to mix Neo-Megilp into my paints. I love it even more than Liquin. It stays wetter longer and makes everything luminous, especially the dark colors that tend to sink in.

This necklace was very important to Margie to get it right. The trick was to get enough detail to read as diamonds, but not so much as to take away from her face. I know I got it right when Margie gave me a huge hug when she came over to view the portrait. The best compliment of all, was at the unveiling when Margie's husband got misty eyed!


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