Updated: Sep 19, 2021
19/09 This painting has turned out to be one of 'those ones' that takes many turns. My initial idea was inspired by the New Zealand ballet's interpretation of Jane Campions 'The Piano'. You can see from sketch that the mood was heavy and the character quite formidable. As the painting progressed she took on a totally different manner that was softer, more academic and hopeful. She came to represent to me a young woman on the verge of her next great adventure. with this I decided to play with the mix of the present and the past. I wanted her to be situated in the past, bound by traditions and expectations...but for her to show resilience, hope and strength in her upcoming journey.
I have included some progress images below...I took them fairly sporadically so there are only a few but let's just say that this painting presented technical challenges that I didn't expect.
First pass [ see below]. Blocking in the general composition. Second pass was defining her dress and features a bit more. Also adding detail to the background. I wanted the environment to reflect my favourite part of the New Zealand landscape - the native forests.
All this really should have been done in a sketch but I stubbornly decided to resolve in all on the canvas. One of the unforeseen challenges was the size of the canvas and the impact that this would have on my process.
Due to the dimensions I was working with my characters face was very small - my first challenge. I am used to painting at a larger scale and I am used to having room to create definition and detail. So I had to buy the tiniest brushes that I could find and really focus in on her features.
I will post some more recent images soon and talk about some of the battles I had with this piece.