I finally started working on a series of 16×20″ oil portraits, mostly of people who work in my neighborhood shops. It took a long time to figure out how I wanted to approach the paintings and in the meantime I made several preliminary sketches in my journal.
This blue series began as a way to cover a really ugly page in my journal. To cover the mess, I mixed some Golden Absorbent Ground (gesso-like, but designed to prepare surfaces for watercolor painting) and some ultramarine blue watercolor. I didn’t mix it very well, as you can see from the streaks, but I actually like it this way. Drawing with a pen worked well on it too. When taco girl (above) dried, I painted in her very red hair.
I covered two more pages in my journal with the remaining blue Absorbent Ground. Something went a little wrong with my drawing of Kim’s eyes (above) which don’t quite match in size or location. Oops. I sketched Kim before (see pics here) when I was taken by the scene’s resemblance to Manet’s “Bar at Folies Bergère.”
I felt a little embarrassed to ask Elliot to let me take a photo of him behind the meat counter but I had to. There is something old-fashioned about him that always makes me picture him in a Norman Rockwell painting. I had a little problem with one of his eyes too, but his oil painting is coming along nicely.
This is the spread in my journal where this series started. The Taco Girl oil portrait is half done. It will be a while before I finish and post the oil paintings but I am enjoying working on several at once, so that while a layer of one dries another is ready to work on.
And I’m so happy to have figured out how I want to paint them: I’m painting how I paint! More about that in another post.