Grace (Little Sister),
Oil on wood panel, 8×10 inches, 2010
It’s nice to be able to switch back and forth between my painting series and portraits, as it keeps things interesting for me, and I learn things from each that I can apply to the other. While I’m working on new series, I like to paint portraits of people I know every once in a while, and last month, I used my sister Grace as my subject.
This painting was one of quicker ones, almost a study, as I wanted to again loosen up my brushwork so I worked with larger brushes and had to really control myself from wanting to smooth out everything and get too detailed. I also worked on quite rough wood panel, for my standards, as I usually apply layers and layers of primer and gesso with fine sanding in between coats so that I have a very smooth surface before I start painting. With this painting, as it was a study that I wanted to start and finish quickly before moving onto my next painting, I left the wood surface quite rough. You can kind of see it in some of the detail photographs below:
Grace (Little Sister) - Detail 2
This is the second painting I’ve done of Grace. The previous one was larger and much more detailed, especially with the background:
Grace (Noli me tangere, for Caesar’s I am)
Oil on board, 64 x 92 cm, 2008
I enjoy painting portraits of my family members, as I often find that while I’m painting, similarities in faces come through only while painting, similarities that I’ve never seen before. While painting the new portrait of Grace, it was fun to slowly see the face emerge from the painting and notice that she looks a lot like my mom did when my mom was her age. There are definitely resemblances found in the nose, mouth and chin.
And when I showed the painting to Grace, she thought that if half the face was covered it looked like me, and if the other half was covered it looked like her. Sometimes we have to convince people we are even related because we look so different! I’ve also painted a portrait of my mother and my grandmother when they were both in their 20s. I’ll see if I can find some photos of those paintings and post them here later this week.
In the meantime, check out my website as I have updated it with new paintings in the Portraits section.