Ideally all of my portraits would have followed this process.
I would have spent the entire time with the sitter working out their position after marking the space with a viewfinder. Then I would have spent days pondering what to do with the background, so that both background and subject could work well with each other. But everything in this trip has pushed the envelope, so to speak.
The canvas size is about the largest one can use on a large field easel. The medium, the messiest one you can bring when you travel. And the time period, the shortest I have scheduled for this type of project. Too ambitious! I am reminded of the words of Louise Bourgeois: “It is not so much where my motivation comes from but rather how it manages to survive.” In that sense, this project has been a success. It can be done, I realized every day as I packed my car to paint a sitter. So I have chosen to put “ideally” in its place. As I write, Ideally is sitting in a corner. I glance at her as I go about my business of producing these portraits but she is not actively involved. She is after all, something to strive for but not the standard by which I can operate all the time.
Enjoy these videos. The first shows the way the canvas was when I took it to my aunt’s house to revise, and later with the the finished background I incorporated after careful consideration. The second was a painting that “flowed” easily from beginning to end.