This painting started off as a little colour study I did one afternoon of my wife, Mege. I did it as a surprise for her birthday. I should mention that I painted it by sight, meaning I didn’t measure anything from the original reference photographs I used. You’ll see why that’s significant as I go on. Here is the colour study. (30 x 25cms or 11.8 x 9.8″) Mege was delighted with the result as was I.
About a year later I decided to do a bigger, more, “serious,” version.
Initially, it went well.
For the larger painting, I meticulously measured everything from the original reference photographs. You can see the reference axis I used to help me. They’re made from elasticated loops of fishing wire.
At this stage, everything was still looking good.
Then I started to loose the plot a bit. I began to fixate on the drawing. Without realising it I overlooked the energy of the overall painting. Technically I was right, the drawing was off, but what I didn’t realise was I was loading the image with stress.
I think this picture highlights what I’m talking about.
This is where my stress led to. The drawing is technically more accurate, even though it’s still wrong, but the soul has gone out of the picture.
Eventually, after quite a bit of soul searching and in part inspired my chat with Jenny Morgan, I scraped back the parts that weren’t working. From then on I focused on getting the drawing AND the energy right.
At this stage, I knew I was on the right track. My chat with Bo Bartlett really helped my finish the painting. He talked about how paint can magically capture the energy and intent of the artist. So as I finished the painting I reconnected with my initial intent which was to create a love letter in paint for my darling wife.
As you can see she is very happy with the result. She says it is a treasured object for her and a reference for who she is at heart. I couldn’t be happier about that.