Paintings

I recently made some portraits in classic Dutch Renaissance style, mainly because I had a hankering for one myself and once I started I just couldn’t stop. Give me more brown! More gloomy faces!

I start with a sketch on the canvas and fill in the background. I wanted the particular Dutch look so I went for a lot of Van Dyck Brown, a few layers, darker at the edges. Then I work on the portrait itself, gradually building it up. Because of oil taking so long to dry I like to work on several at the same time so I always have some dry spot to tackle. And yes, my studio is far too tiny really but it shows what you can do with a small space. The paintings are leaning on my sewing machine as no sewing can happen when I paint, it is far too dusty.

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The vest is my own and painted with white highlights to give shape. It looks very suitable for the period, if you disregard the centre zipper.That was the look I was after, period but definitely not.

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So why the bird? No reason, other than the need for a central colour spot. Also, the early paintings often had an addition such as an animal, a flower or a bird added. There is great joy in choosing things to paint. After all, there are no limitations whatsoever apart from your time.

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Here is another just past the starting line. She is wearing a headdress composed of two takeaway coffe cups and a teatowel. At least, that is what it will become. The early paintings often did little things with their hands, like religious symbolism for instance. I am going more modern, this one is doing the Shaka, the handsign for the unified people of Hawaii which later become the internationally known surfie hand. I like her bored look, very deliberate. I have seen it all and it bored me! She probably lives in Melbourne and studies art and works as a barista. Or maybe she dosn’t.

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This one is of one of my neighbours, she happened to be walking past wearing a gorgeous duffel coat so I put a hankie over her head (as you do when neighbours pass) and asked her to pose. ”Just look serious,” I pleaded, and I think she did really well. Letting someone paint you is to put a lot of trust in the painter. Willl they make me look awful? Possibly. Will you be able to do a thing about it? Nope. By the way, I have no idea what happened to the green, it is not that lurid in real life.

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