Friday, January 7, 2011

Sophie's Back, Again

Happy New Year everyone, I hope you all had a great Christmas.
We had a lovely time, but I hope that all our Christmases won't be white in future. I really love the snow, but Ireland just isn't geared up to deal with such a lot of it.

This picture of Sophie may look familiar to some of you.
It's based on a painting I did at the life room last year, which I was never entirely happy with (see below).
For one thing Sophie's gorgeous natural colouring has always been a bit of a problem for me (I think I need to buy a few new paints just to tackle her hair). A second problem with the original picture is that the working drawing shows through in a very inelegant sort of way. I seemed to be using a lot of green back then, which just looks sickly to me now.
Nonetheless I liked the pose, and the light and the composition so I thought it might be worth doing a second version based on the first.

Creating more polished image based on sketches from the model was very much the modus operandi of many of my favourite painters of the past. However I am always worried that what you gain in polish, you loose in spontaneity.
I'd be very interested to hear what you think.


Marc McCabe said...

Damn I wanted to be a smarty pants blogger and point out that it was similar haha. I like both! But I cant say I like the new one any better. But I suppose what I like about that first painting just wasnt the best approach for that model, I wouldnt know until I saw her in person :D

Sadami said...

Dear PJ,
So lovely and sensitive work. Thank you for showing two and a precious process. Please keep up. May 2011 will be wonderful for you.
Best wishes, Sadami

Anonymous said...

I think the effort you put into polishing the second is duly balanced by the fact that you rendered the under drawing less obvious. I loved the first but the second is also beautiful. The hair, particularly, in the second and the lessened starkness of the outlines bespeaks some 19th c. influences and some impressionism. It's great! It puts me in mind of Singer Sargent... Wonderful process!

Kendra Melton said...

Geez PJ, I decide to drop by and see what you've been up to and I get to see this beautiful piece. Wow, stunning. Love the soft warm feeling, takes a sexy subject matter and transforms it into elegance. Bravo!

Hope you're having a wonderful New Year!

Natalie said...

I think that the colours in the original are more vibrant and bolder. I am biased though, because I like complementary colours rather than a more balanced palette.
The second one has a softness the original doesn't have, a more refined quality. I prefer the background in the first and the skin tones in the second. I do think you lose spontaneity with the reworking, and so I prefer the original. However the reworking is more sympathetic to the model. Both beautiful in their own way =)

Jean K. said...

Hi, PJ. I'm a huge fan of your art. Re: the two versions of this piece, I think the greens and bluish tones in the original are completely appropriate for the model's skin tones. Redheads often have blues, purples and greens in the shadows of their skin tones, as you clearly saw, which only emphasizes the delicate warmer color of the skin, and my nephew and I, both redheads, have a lot of greenish-gold tones in our hair. So I found the contrasts of hue in the first painting quite beautiful and giving an exciting visual contrast. The lines of the sketch to me didn't seem intrusive at all. The second piece is more polished and muted and also quite lovely, just in a different way; it looks very classical. Well, both paintings do, to be honest, to this self-trained artist. Thank you so much for your generosity in sharing your work with us!

PJ Lynch said...

Many thanks to all of you for taking the time to make those excellent comments and thoughtful crits, not to mention the very kind words of encouragement.
I find myself agreeing with a lot of what you say, but re Sophie's colouring:
this is tricky as the extreme paleness of her skin has me reaching for the whites and blues and yes, Jean, even the greens, but I've never been at all satisfied with the result.
Her hair is an intense reddish gold and is likewise very difficult to do justice to.
Usually I like to be very faithful to the subject as I see her in front of me, but I think there is certainly scope for using the life sketch as a starting point that might lead towards something more resolved or even more idealised.
Many thanks again for your comments
Best wishes

David Walker said...

Happy new year PJ. You're right, the polished version can loose something that the sketch inexplicably captures, but they are two different things,I think. The Leonardo cartoon is wonderfully expressive of the potential of the subject, whereas his finished work contains layer upon layer depth and meaning. Your later version beautifully captures a beautiful woman. Great work.
All the best David

PJ Lynch said...

Thanks for that David.
Of course you are right when you say that they are two different things, the sketch and the final, finished painting.
I love the immediacy of the loose brush strokes, and the unfinished areas in the "sketches" painted directly from life.
Problem is I also love the more refined and controlled look of the "worked up" painting, and I do feel that they are pretty contrary tendencies.
Figurative artists today seem to be one thing or the other.
However for the purposes of my blog at least, it doesn't have to be an "either" "or" situation.

Lovely work on your blog, David
All the best

David Walker said...

I'm like you. I like both. It's like having a split personality, one day I'm sure what kind of painter I am and the next I'm doing the opposite. Fairly recently though I've come to terms with the fact that I can do both - and why not! David