"Paintings have a life of their own that derives from the painter's soul." Vincent Van Gogh

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Multiplicity of Humankind



Slender, young, delicately beautiful Stephanie posed today at the Reno Portrait Society. She is tiny with elfin features that are dwarfed by her mass of dread-locked hair. She presented an interesting juxtaposition of the sweetness of her face with the tangled harshness of the matted hair.




I also spent a day at the easel with my oil paints doing this portrait practice with the intent in mind of capturing expression and something undefinable - perhaps about the character of the subject. This painting was hard work and I kept wanting to scrape it off but decided to go the whole way with it. Its an imposing presence in my studio while it sits drying on the easel. 14x18 oil on linen.

22 comments:

  1. Hi Susan. I lOVE the drawing of Stephanie! And I still see/feel French Impressionism in your sketching, and it is wonderful. I could see why the oil portrait would be difficult. The subject appears to be an extremely intense man.

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    1. I am having such a great time with the portrait drawing. I wonder when I will get my courage up and trade in my pencils for paints at these sessions?

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  2. Wonderful studies, Susan. I especially like the drawing. Lovely!

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  3. Great sketch and wonderful painting Susan! I am so happy you didn't scrape this one off! Very impressive and well done! Love the skin tones, the expression, the size, and the reds! Always so much more to say about your work but I do have to let your work speak for itself! It always says wonderful things! Bravo buddy!
    Michael

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    1. You say such nice things, Michael - and I appreciate your words greatly. I don't think I have ever used red in a portrait the way I did in this one and, although it was intense to paint, it was also freeing.

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  4. I've missed so much, Susan.

    Although I enjoyed the dreadlocks, it's the suppressed passions of the portrait that fascinate me. It is almost as if you had waited a few minutes longer before committing to paint, he would have told us in no uncertain terms what was on his mind!

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    1. In the oil portrait, my intent was to convey those bottled up feelings as if they might come exploding out at any second. It was a draining exercise but I absorbed a lot while doing it. Worth the effort I do think.

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  5. Both of these are amazing. I love your treatment of Stephanie's hair. The man's expression is so challenging which you carried over into the reds you used. Super!

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    1. Her hair was a challenge - to make it look like hair and not like a hat or a scarf. And I loved painting that horrible expression - such intensity in his look. Thank you for your kind words!

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  6. Both portraits are amazing in totally different ways. The second one almost looks like pointillism with all of the different marks... Fabulous! :0)

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  7. Love them both, Susan ...I LOVE the oil painting of the man...a
    very strong expression, wonderful colors..

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    1. I do believe his expression demanded those strong colors! Thank you, Hilda!

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  8. I love the imposing glare of the portrait--being that un orthodox expressions are of major interest to me. The Top portrait is lovely too. You had to underplay the dreadlocks so as not to detract from the sweetness of her face. Very clever of you.

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    1. I agree, Linda - it is unorthodox expressions, situations, positions - that fascinate me and demand I try to paint them.

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  9. Both are fabulous in their own way! The second one is intriguing!

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    1. Thanks, Judy. When I see them together, I am amazed at how different they are - in both approach and result.

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  10. Wow Susan. He seems like a gruff old man that insists on getting his way! Yet in all that gruffness, you treated his balding head with beautiful impressionistic colors, exposing a softer side that he can't always hide.

    I love how you were able to keep all that red in his face. My brush would have fought me so much on that one! Sometimes it the struggle to preserve something on the canvas that is the hardest. Well done!

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    1. Many thanks, Susan - your words always intend to inspire me to keep experimenting, keep trying the unusual and to keep challenging myself.
      The red kind of happened of its own accord and seems totally appropriate in retrospect!

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  11. Je toont mooie werken Susan !
    groetjes,
    Simonne

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Your comments are welcome and brighten my day!