I started this painting in our life drawing session last Thursday night here in Woodstock. We have worked with this beautiful figure model before, and I asked her to hold a longer pose this time so I could add the line of tattooos down her leg. I think I was overly ambitious! I brought a large surface - this is a 24" square piece of masonite that is primed with gesso.
I blocked in the figure first. This was such a great pose - it worked perfectly, from my vantage point - as a square format.
I was using this washes of acrylic paint and a large brush to block in the form and make sure everything was going to fit. My surface was a little too slick. I had applied the gesso with a piece of matt board - smoothing the gesso around the surface like i was applying Venetian plaster. I like the effect, because certain areas of the painting, once stained with the paint, can be sanded away to reveal some cool textures.
You can see some of the texture in this detail. I slowly added some deep reds on top of the blues, defining shadows and form. After the whole figure was defined, I softly added the butterflies. As I was painting, I didn't notice the butterflies at first - I only noticed her figure. But then, after I started to add them in, it was like that's ALL I could see! So I need to be careful as I continue to work on this painting - it's like adding words to a piece - sometimes, the eye only focuses on those pieces and not the whole.
As we finished up our live model session, one of my fellow artists approached the painting and commented that the pillow she is leaning on is actually taking the form of a wing (top right corner) It makes me wonder if I should explore that a little bit....maybe not an OBVIOUS image of a wing, but something more subtle...the young lady told me that the butterflies were signifficant symbols of change and growth (if I remember correctly) and maybe the painting could be indicating that on a different level...I dunno. Sometimes just picking the right color is hard! Maybe the symbolism needs to come out on it's own.
What do you think? See where it takes me? Push the idea of a wing? Paint it hot pink? I'm open to feedback!
Totally gorgeous. I hadn't noticed the pillow/"wing" until you pointed it out, but I love that concept. I am not a painter so I hesitate to give technical feedback. But I don't think the pillow needs a lot more emphasis--if anything, maybe just defining it a little more with shadowing on & around it?
The butterflies are really cool.
(BTW, clicked on @dpringle's link on Twitter.)
Brilliant! I really like your use of a limited palette.
I'd keep the wing reference subtle - as if the figure is growing and changing before the viewer's eyes. I also think it's more rewarding for the viewer if their eye discovers a hint you've hidden in a painting as opposed to having a metaphor/allegory or such like handed to them on a plate. Subtlety and suggestive narratives are very engaging and will keep a person looking for a long time, searching, thinking, imagining...and, ultimately, enjoying the experience :o)
Good luck! I'm excited to see where you'll go with it.
CB and CB,
Thank you for the feedback! I agree that more subtle is the way to go. In general I like paintings that don't hit you over the head with everything at once - I like seeing something new or different every time you look at it.
while I do plan on adding more color - I am glad you like the limited palette, and will definitly keep it going in that direction.
Awesome...thank you both!
It's gorgeous! I agree to keep the wing subtle. I can hardly wait to see the finished project.
I definately agree with the limited palette and letting the viewer find the wing suggestion...I think that it will develop like you said. I really like the texture and how its developing! Artwork really does have a life of its own...
Hi Jen and Lia (lrc)
Thank you for adding your voices to the mix! I appreciate it so much.
Hi there . the wing' was the first thing I noticed. I love that she has the butterfly wings.. and her own:)Beautiful work!
I really love your work. I have admired it on etsy.
I like the wing the way it is. It is a little mysterious. Very subtle and beautiful.
I love to study the way you use color, it is really wonderful.
I love your portrait you have on etsy of Shante. There is a lovely warm spot on her eye lid that is so delicate and beautiful.
Well, I could go on-and-on!
All the best to you!
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