Art People Portrait

Mimi at Marcy’s

Mimi at Marcy's, oil on Arches Oil Paper, 9.5" x 7"
Mimi at Marcy’s, oil on Arches Oil Paper, 9.5″ x 7″

Although I’m happy with this pre-quarantine composition and painting, I regret not checking the drawing before beginning to paint. I sensed something wasn’t right and sure enough, when I did the digital tracing (below) I found my mistake, but it was too late. I’d either need to start over or let it go.

When drawing/painting people I ask myself, “Does it at least look human, if not that specific human?” Hmmmm. Well, I guess I can celebrate the parts that worked and let go of mistakes and remember to check my drawing next time! Also I might be coming to believe that sometimes the anatomy isn’t as important as the feeling I’m trying to convey, and that caricature or distortion might be ok (though it’s probably better when it’s intended).

I did the initial drawing on Arches Oil Paper with a Prismacolor Col-Erase pencil. Then I sealed the drawing and the paper with Golden GAC 100, a transparent acrylic sealant that gives the paper a slick, non-absorbent finish. I dislike using Arches Oil Paper as is, it’s way too absorbent. So even though it’s safe for oil painting on directly, I can’t really use it without sealing it first. Some people first cover it with Gamsol but that would be way too much solvent exposure for me.

Here are the steps as it progressed:

10 replies on “Mimi at Marcy’s”

She is darling, Jana. It just looks as though she is a bit older than the photograph.
Well done. Would be fun to see a picture of her in a year or so. But if you wanted it just at the age in the picture, then she does look older.
God bless, C-Marie


I love following your process.Thanks for sharing! Madeleine still has baby teeth and her jaw is not filled out like an older kid. I think it makes her face a different shape.


That’s a good point, though I was trying to paint what I see rather than what I know about anatomy. For a previous baby painting (not yet posted) I did some practice drawing from a photo of a baby skull to understand the differences. Like you said, children’s jaws and skulls are different from adults, especially when it comes to proportion of head to body size. I have another drawing of her I like that I wanted to make into a painting but I think it’s too small to paint, not sure. I got side-tracked into mask making but might get back in the studio again today.


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