Monday, September 12, 2016

nancy jean

Clearing away some cobwebs, trying to make time at the easel, trying to find the rhythm of work with an 8-month old baby: things don't usually get done on time, in the right order, or according to plan. I approach everything with the same sleep-deprived urgent ferocity: sew Auden's Halloween costume, make list of portraits to paint, get into fights with racist strangers on Facebook, MAKE DINNER. 

Instead, here's a piece I did last winter and never got around to posting:

It's much bigger than my usual portraits, so I mapped out a grid on the canvas to render the composition. My first layer of flesh tones was a bit too green or gray or just kind of sickly-looking...

But the next layer resolved nicely:

"Nancy Jean"
Oil on canvas

I was so taken with the tiny brightness of pink in her lip, and how it echoed in her cheek and above her eye. I wanted everything to hinge on that. It's funny how the most important part of a painting takes the lightest touch. 

Maybe I'll apply the same wisdom to my to-do list.


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