Reflecting on a Portrait

Seems one is not enough these days. This post is how one portrait lead to another.

Inspired to simplify the design I hooked with such detail, I took one of the sketches and traced the outline, neck, hairline and glasses. Then out came the colored pencils and I played around with value and color.  That exercise was frustrating — wrong values, colors not quite right and I did not like “coloring”. But it did help me realize which values would communicate a face in side profile – (darker cheek behind full face, medium face and light hair); and that using color may not be how I wanted to create this work.

I had just picked up an armload of discontinued fabric samples from Dillon’s Furniture in Romney with intent to incorporate them into my work like the McDonald sisters of Gilmer County, WV who used scraps of fabric in their trapunto, embroidered, faux hooked tapestries circa 1964. (A post for the future).  It felt like I had hit GOLD when I looked at that pile!  Selecting a dark solid, medium texture and white lined fabric, I cut out patterns and began layering these on a MOD FLOWER pattern which said 1970’s to me. To hide the stitches I had to use threads matching the fabric.  These decisions lead me to dwell on my memory of embroidery skills.

It just happened the first layer was as dark as the lines of the pattern fabric. Noticing this, I positioned the next layers to expose the equivalent of the lines.  When in a creative session I try to remember to come out of the eagerness once in awhile and look at possibilities.  Being aware of happenstance and flexible enough to evolve is where artistic growth happens along with fun.

As you can see, the glasses were too important (and too dark), and gradually I trimmed them to just the actual frame which is enough for recognition. This piece will be finished in a thin black metal frame. Size is 14 x 11.

Although both faces are the exact same size, the positioning on background; detail in face; and scale of motifs in background mislead the viewer to think the appliquéd one is smaller.

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