Planning Joanna's Portrait

This is the finished portrait of Joanna.
20" x 24" Oil on canvas

It was a verrrrry complicated project. 

I was asked to include the following items in this portrait and wondered how on earth I was going to design this portrait to hold it all and not detract from the sitter, Joanna.

Here's what's in the portrait (besides Joanna):

A particular wooded scene
Figure sitting under a tree
Fall leaves
Foliage including herbs
Three special blue rocks
Deer antlers
Granite boulders
Blue jay
Wild boar
Lotus flower
Water (drops)
A circle within a triangle within a circle (symbol)
Luna moth
Sea turtle
Antique bracelet 
Antique ring
And an adorable little pet rat named Lola

Sketch #1

I took a reference photo, printed it out on my inkjet printer and taped it to a piece of scrap cardboard.

Then I painted on top of it (using oil paint) to determine the overall color and composition. If I'm going to show this to somebody, I am a bit more careful to make it look "good."

Sketch #2

I liked the background colors in this sketch.

I liked the two poses above but the client did not like the face so I did another photo shoot in my studio.

The picture above is complicated enough that I could sneak a lot of unrelated elements into it.

Sketch #3

This pix was from the second photo shoot. The pose was too contrived and it ultimately cut down on my background options.

Sketch #4

This is the figure I used but I didn't like the skirt so I changed it in another shoot. I lightened the foreground and added foliage to break up the form.

Basically none of these sketches worked out as is but it helped to clarify my thinking and gave the client some idea where I was going with this painting.

For the background, I used a combination of Sketches 1, 2 and 4 above. Sketch 3 shows how narrow the face is and it "looks more" like the sitter. Unfortunately I did not notice this in the original reference photo we chose. Drat.

No comments: