Its that time of year again, I have just four weeks to paint a credible portrait, from life, that might stand out amongst the usual 2000 or so entrants’ works.
Only 55 paintings are selected in total to be exhibited, the top prize this year is £30,000. The award is made for “outstanding and innovative work ” – it is increasingly hard to produce something that is innovative without bordering on the pretentious.
I chose to paint a friend, who is a painter herself, indeed she only paints herself, often in elaborate guises, adopting personas or attitudes, situations or allegories. I know what she really looks like as a friend but does she show me the face that she paints or someone else?
Here is my beginning – the first day of oil paint after many pencil sketches. I love the background and the shapes but I’m anxious about her dress, which is made of thick wool, dark blue with a contrasting maroon panel on the front. She was also wearing a necklace made of felt but I have decided to leave that out. I might try to make to the wool look like silk instead.
Her hair – a halo of marvellous auburn curls, will be back lit by a nearby standard lamp to the right. In this image, the holo of hair is much smaller than it will be when finished. She is sporting navy blue tights with white spots, I’m looking forward to painting those.
Its all looking raw and too bright just now and with no details but hopefully things will come together soon.