Sunday, November 8, 2009

Woman in a Red Chair - finished!

I think Woman in a Red Chair might be finished!  I might decide tomorrow when I see her in the light of day (as opposed to under artificial light now at night) that there's more to do, but she's certainly mostly finished.  I'm so pleased wtih how she turned out.  If she weren't so large (40"x60"), I wuld say she practically looks real.  I'm excited about the skin tones which have about 15 different hues in them and therefore make them more realistic looking.

This image has spoken loudly to me ever since I first saw the photograph. I don't know why exactly, but it really resonates with me. When I asked the model if she were OK with my drawing it, she was quite hesitant at first.  She felt like it captured her too purely, that anyone would know it was she.  I had to respect that, of course, but the image stuck with me.  So much so that I drew it in my sketch book just so I could try to shake it out of me.  It had hold!

And still didn't let go - though I tried hard to!  So I asked my husband to photograph me in the same position.  We waited until the same time of day, set up the lights just the same, then I had him pose in the same position so I could get everything just right, then I sat in the chair.  He did as good a job as possible taking the picture, but when I saw it, I was very disappointed.  It just wasn't the same.  My body is not the same size as the model's so I fit into the chair differently.  My hand, though in the same pose as much as I could manage, didn't look right.  The model was right - this pose was her, not me.  So I set about coming to terms with not drawing it and to finding a different picture to paint. 

The next time I saw this model, I told her about my trials and tribulations and even showed her the drawings I'd made.  At that point, she said, "Oh, for heaven's sake!  Go ahead and paint it!"  I was so happy!  I hope she's still OK with it now that it exists in the world. I hope I honored her in the way I represented her.  I find it such a beautiful authentic present image.  She looks relaxed, present, real. 

Below I've included close ups of the picture so you can see the details.  The colors don't show up quite right.  I don't think there's any way to do that given the differences in monitors, etc.  I'll put it on display somewhere sometime.  In the meantime, it'll be in my studio for anyone who wants to come see this gorgeous woman and her compatriots!

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