Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Completed Painting: “An Open Book”

It is only when you finish a painting that you realize it’s a process. Up until then, you have several visions dancing through your head, and each one seems viable until you face the canvas.

My model is my granddaughter, Amelia, sitting on a settee in sunlight reading a book. Sitting in her white tights and pink leotard, I was struck by her feminine pose against the white wicker. What I didn’t love was the slanted sofa and the difficulty in painting the wicker which I felt might actually take away from the child.

Then I thought it would be wonderful to have a simple background and seating with swirls of letters and numbers going under her, around her and over her; leading into the painting, around the figure, out and then back in again by her feet. It would have been fun, but again would take away from the child.

I ended up placing her on a window seat so that the light from the window would capture the center focus: the face, the act of reading, the hands and the book.

I first did a basic acrylic drawing in burnt umber. Then I did a second more detailed under painting in acrylic. My final layers of oil paint solidify form and color. I let the original under painting show through in appropriate places: the window, the curtains, the seat, etc. I love this technique because it gives a more three-dimensional look to the finished painting, and produces a softness in the overall product.

I hope you enjoy the finished painting: “An Open Book” The original is for sale by contacting me, and prints, greeting cards and giclees (wrapped canvas prints) are available at