These are three paintings I have been working on for varying amounts of time - the Flapper I have started and finished (are they ever?) over the last week, the portrait of Lucian I have been working on for a couple of months on and off and the portrait of 'S' since well before Christmas. Having gone to see the Lucian Freud exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery in London last Tuesday I think I could be forgiven for feeling like never attempting a portrait again. However it is an absolutely awesome exhibition and has completely revived my enthusiasm for Lucian and inspired and hopefully emboldened me. The last major exhibition of his work that I saw was at the Tate ten years ago and I was very interested to find out how I felt about him again, and also look at it all from more of a painters point of view. I took my time as I was luxuriously alone, took a few notes and will try and get round to documenting my thoughts and feelings more fully later on. The first thing I need to do though is finalise these paintings and have a deep think about my own approach and future direction. So whether these are truly finished it or not it is time to put them away and move on.
This is a painting inspired by a very dear friend of mine who's photo I snaffled from her facebook page. The photo wasnt great, low res and a bit dark but I thought it had potential and I just loved the pose and the costume. This isnt someone who has ever shown interest in having a portrait painted, and initially I thought I would disguise her features but as I was painting I realised it had to be her. Fortunately she isnt too upset with me, and it even has the approval of her husband and family so as long as they still like it when they see it face to face I shall make a gift of it. Phew!
Oil on board, approximately 16" x 20"
A couple of close ups
I've struggled a bit with Lucians face, even the photo isnt a typical likeness of him because he is sat back in his chair and it makes him look more fleshy than he probably was, also its pretty small at less that 2"'s so I am going to have to let this be it now. I noticed the similarity in the pose with one of his paintings of Leigh Bowery, perhaps he always sat that way or maybe he liked it in the painting and chose to recreate it for himself. I saw David Dawsons photos at Pallant House in Chichester a few weeks ago, he really has taken some fab shots of Lucian so once again full credit to David for the original photo that I used as reference. How I would love to ask him some questions about Lucian and his work, what a privileged position he had.
Oil on board approx 16" x 24"
eek, putting my painting next to the masters......
Finally the painting thats been hanging around the longest, I havent even shown it to the owner yet. S is a fabulous lady, very sunny, happy and gorgeous and I really wanted to do her justice. Its painted on board and I wanted to leave the background natural and beautiful just like her.
oil on board 12" x 16"
Incidentally I have had some non-standard frames hanging around for a while and had some board cut to size, so The Flapper and Lucian were framed before they were even painted. Thats an unusual way to go about things but I am particularly pleased with how well The Flapper suits its frame so it worked out quite well. I have a few more hanging around awaiting suitable inspiration.