One to Another

September 5, 2009

090409 – Ray & Tom.

Filed under: --Ray (& Tom), 1-Progress/Sessions — pendantportraits @ 3:52 pm

When I taught portrait painting a couple of years ago, two local patrons, Tom and Ray, agreed to pose for the class. I painted along with the students for fifteen or twenty minutes each day. When the class was over, the works were well underway yet not complete. Tom passed away in April of this year. At his memorial in June, Ray asked about the paintings. I took them to his home in July, and we agreed that we’d get together this summer to complete his portrait. I’ll work from whatever photo sources of Tom that he can find. The inevitable differences between these companion portraits, if successful, may become part of the narrative.

Session 1: Applied a layer of retouch varnish to allow fresh paint to adhere in advance. Corrected foreshortening, responded to weight loss. Ray brought some photos of Tom as potential reference for his portrait. Bringing coffee is part of the deal.

Session 2 (Saturday, August 22): Ray wore white shirt. He loves this story, “After Picasso finished Gertrude Stein’s portrait, she said it didn’t look like her. He said, just wait, it will.” Good posing session today.

Session 3 (Friday, August 28): Photo of painting made prior to starting (at home). Work tie and jacket. Lights brighter, ear, nose, around eye.  Jacket/tie. Head shape in place finally. Began with oiling out (walnut) over areas painted last week. Glazed terre verte over edge of skull, to round. Glazed semi-transparent paint of former beard area. A little bit less like him at end of day than before. A bit sad today. Mixed dark tints of each pigment on complex palette. Green background making brighter reds necessary. Coffee, cookie, and a banana. Afterwards, I looked at the painting in raking light and modified some of the edges, removing paint where it was overly thick. Today’s art joke: Knock knock. Who’s there? Tuba. Tuba Who? Tuba yellow paint.

Session 4 (Friday, Sept 4): Preparing for a portrait session has some things in common with a military operation. Prepared for all contingencies, food supply, action preparations, all elements in position. I mixed warm colors on one palette and cool tones on a separate one. Ray wore his best white shirt today (no collar buttons), as well as the jacket and tie. We ate oatmeal cookies, bananas, and Fourbucks coffee. Ray’s friend, Margy B., sat in on the latter half of the session, when it gets difficult to hold the pose. I added light in the background adjacent to the far side of his head.

– photo doc pending –


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