Saturday, 05 August 2017 14:36

"Taking a Break"....Literally

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I submitted this painting, "Taking a Break,"  to the Federation of Canadian Artist's Spring Show here in Victoria this past April.  I was pleased that it won first prize!  But it wasn't a straight path from start to finish.

I had painted this a few months before the show and was never quite satisfied.  I finally put it back on the easel and spent some time making adjustments to her face (okay, I totally repainted it). I tidied up a few other details and then I was happy with it.  I find this happens to me often - I run out of steam and I put the painting aside.  Then, weeks or months (sometimes years) go by and I come back to it.  I find myself thinking, "that's not so bad...lemme mess with it a bit, see what happens..."  All I needed was a little time and distance apart, and I was ready to make a go of it again.

I think part of the success was the dramatic lighting...and I have a trick.  I use my front window.  Using a window makes great shadows and highlights on a face.  It's really just a big ol' lightbox - something photographers spend good money on.  Try it yourself - make sure your subject isn't in direct sunlight - you don't want any sunbeams, just soft, bright, indirect light.  My model for this painting is Stacee; I had her look out the window, but I made sure I kept half of her face in shadow - I wanted the drama.  

I also wanted the composition to be pushed to the upper third of the painting; I wanted the viewer's eyes to be pulled between her face and her hand with the glasses.  I think it worked out pretty well... and I guess the judges for the show thought the same thing!

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