Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Anne Third Sitting

Another day's sitting with Anne's portrait yesterday. It's at the stage where in some sense it seems to go backwards rather than forwards. Readjusting and correcting the relationships between features. Working from life you become acutely aware of how everything changes with the slightest tilt of the subjects head. Anne is a wonderful sitter - probably the best sitter I've worked with! Some people can never relax and squirm around self conciously, however, but with no true self awareness. Anne strikes no poses, in any sense, but she projects an open and honest, natural quality. I want to try and do my utmost to capture some of that quality. Painting from life is all about the dialogue between the sitter and the artist. I regard it as a team effort rather than the cliche artist/model scenario of Picasso's day. This is why I find working from photographs unsatisfying and uninpisiring.

It doesn't show in the photo, but I'm pleased with the warm glowing colour of the chair background. It's a mix of Cadmium Yellow Deep and a natural ochre that I ground up myself. It's going to set off Anne's eyes and blue headband nicely. The brown at the top is an Old Holland colour they call Red Umber. I've never used it before and I quite like it. Quite unlike either Raw or Burnt Umber. It seems more like a synthetic oxide to me but they claim it's natural. I mixed it with ivory black.

I asked Anne to jot down notes of the colours so I could remember for this blog. As with everything she does, she made a very detailed and concientous job of it!

My dog, Fergus, is a jealous dog! He always reclaims the chair after someone leaves. Painting is a lonely activity most times. I enjoy having human company for a change.


Heather Lister-Cook said...

Funny, I have a mental picture of the dog hovering around with a scowl on his face waiting for his chair to become available again lol.

How long is a sitting, do you play it by ear or work to a specific time frame?

I find myself intrigued by all the background details in your studio:)H

Paul Hutchinson said...

Its not so much scowling as hovering around with his best sad puppy-dog eyes expression, trying to get Annes attention!

We do play it by ear - literally! I put on a music cd and when that finishes we have a short break. We played three CDs last time.

Thanks Heather!