Kassandra ~ An Oil Portrait, Moving Model

kassandra_small.jpg  After all these years of painting from models on Saturdays this is the first time I took a photo during the session and worked from it later.  The problem I found with doing this is that the photo pose was slightly different from my unfinished work.  After thinking about it, I could see where this would be a common occurrence.  The reason is simple.  During a 3 hour pose the model is continuously moving.  It may be a great deal of movement or only slight, but it is not static.  While painting over a period of time from a sitting model, the tendency (at least for me) is to “chase” the pose.  With experience, of course, you don’t chase far, but it is very difficult not to do it to some degree.  You work on one part of the painting and when you come back to the head it is very slightly changed.  Now, is it a change, or did you just not get it quite right to begin with?  So I correct it.  Over a period of three hours you produce a series of snapshots of various body parts and drapery positions.  When you take a photo that one position is locked.    

    Now, at home, do I go with my original work or do I correct it to match the photo?  It seems like it should be close enough to use as a “touch up” reference, but that is not necessarily so.  For example, after you took the photo then worked on the head and neck area for an hour, the model changed her hand position.  You now paint the hands in the new, completely different position.  You are rushed so you block the hands in thinking you have a reference to work from later.  Wrong!    

    The photo hand position might not work with the arms you have painted.   If you repaint to the photo version of hands and arms, you may need to adjust the shoulders, etc.   I think the solution is to skip the photos; keep the model posing until you are done or ready for supper.

    We are having a comment getting contest here on On Painting.  The winner (with the most comments) gets an all expense trip to Pacoima.

    Click on the “No Comments” or “n-number of Comments” below to leave POSITIVE comments.  If you have negative stuff, click on Lisa Page.

Bill 

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3 Responses to Kassandra ~ An Oil Portrait, Moving Model

  1. grfxho says:

    This is the exact reason I am into photography instead of painting… and why I prefer to take photos of landscapes and plants; They don’t move as much.

  2. Well it’s a lovely painting however you finally managed to complete it.

    And yes painting from life is a challenge. Looking at portraits by Cassatt I wonder how she got the kids to stay still.

  3. wrjones says:

    Thanks, Diana. I doubt they did stay still. She may have worked like Bouguereau sometimes – drawing from statues (how did the sculptor get it right?) and using the child for color only.

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