Monday, January 26, 2015

Preparing An Expressionist Portrait

After completing several "Expressionist" portraits I hit upon the idea of creating each for the kids and my wife and using those four for this years holiday card. Little did I know that illness would get in the way. I only had mine done, the others just had to wait.

Sad to say, I didn't have the energy or inclination to get back into the groove until a few weeks ago. The better I feel the more energy I have. I am not saying anything new but when something like that hits you rather than having "all the time in the world" you are sleeping all the time in the world.

When I was in home isolation for a week, no one could visit nor could I go anywhere, I realized when it was over that other than a little TV (no cable or wi-fi yet) I slept or read. In fact caught up on my reading!

Step 1
My daughter was next on the list. It was not easy as it seemed that I had to learn the kind of daring I used on the first two. First off I didn't want to mimic what I had already done yet I wanted the feeling of her to come through. The rough sketch was very rough.

I have gotten in the habit of dividing the canvas into 4ths and figured I had better keep that style, at least for this series. Bright discordant colors form the background and then frame the face itself.

Step 2
My daughter has wonderful natural curly hair and I wanted that to come through. However, it is not easy to create without it looking too realistic. I wanted the feeling of waviness cascading down with other colored highlights.

Moving on, the background became stronger and the colors on the face more pronounced. I was not happy with the color but wasn't sure what to do...colors to add or subtract. The idea was to give some hint on who it was.

I added more colors, actually washes of darker colors that went with the background. I didn't want it too bright to take away from the face. Those layers were built up as was the blouse. I didn't want stark white.

Step 3
The mouth was the other problem. It couldn't be too perfect but not like this either. I fussed with this over and over. The great blessing with acrylics is that once dry you can paint over any mistakes! This was the area I had plenty! Lips, teeth, color, it was a daily battle to see what I wanted to do.

Meanwhile I continued to play with the background. The white dots seemed a wonderful way to break up a colorful but dull background. It is not too much nor too little. It acts as a nice counterpoint to white used in other areas of the painting but without being intrusive.

Portrait Completed

I continued to work on the blouse giving it more depth. I softened the mouth and teeth and made the lips smaller. The balance was better and more honest. I wasn't trying to create a monster but a feeling of a person.

Here is the final portrait, not quite as yellow as shown here.. The lips are redder though and there is much more charing on the blouse. I think if I was to do this again.

Is there room for such "art?" Do we need to have Gainsborough type portraits in the days of countless "selfies?" While selfies may or may not go away, and you get a perfect image of yourself a hundred times over, art historically is an artists attempt to express what he sees or feels.

These are a challenge to do yet fun as well. You are forced to stretch your limits, truly look at a person and paint what you feel not necessarily what you see. I urge all artists to give it a try!

I have a store, KrugsStudio so if you are interested in a variety of birdhouses or crafts and photography one of a kind paintings, please be sure to check out that store as well. Be sure to tell your friends, artists or not about this blog and my store!

Thank you for visiting.

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