Frustrations with the portrait

Frustrations with the portrait

I stretched, sized, primed and prepared the ground for both canvasses over Easter and have been getting to work on the Portrait of Martine. Having only the drawing to work from and a few reference snaps that are not much good (no colour definition), has been problematic. I have spent a few days painting, first in oils, studying Rembrandt in some detail (I haven’t worked in oils in a while), only to erase what I have done three times over, Rembrandt was not helping and I need to do my own thing in my own way.

I have now gone back to more familiar acrylics, which I have been interrogating over the last few years, so I feel more at home. I have tried various sizes of portrait composition and have finally settled for a big impact with Martine’s face filling the canvas – a direct copy from the drawing which seems to be taking a life of its own.

I am still not totally happy with the current results and need a breakthrough. However, I am going to try not to erase what I have done yet again (Sian, my partner loves it), so instead, I will be stretching up an alternative canvas this weekend so I have two portraits to choose from. I am not ready to share work in progress just yet, so will post some images hopefully next week. I have a deadline for the portrait part, as I need to have something ready for the catalogue by the end of the month, so there is a bit of pressure, maybe this is the problem??

I also heard back from Martine that unfortunately Lis is too busy for the work, so plan B it is – a portrait of Martine  (in portrait format) and an action painting to celebrate her sport (in landscape format), which I think will work really well.

Here is the canvas making process (I use traditional techniques and rabbit size glue, primer and Gesso ground):


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