This piece took a while but it was totally worth it, if I do say so. She is fabulous!
At first I wasn’t sure I wanted to tackle the entire painting by Botticelli and I thought maybe I’d just do Venus. But it was going to be awkward because she’s not really standing in the center of the shell and I’d have to cut something off so I thought, oh the hell with it, I’ll just do the whole thing.
Coincidentally, I happened to read about a method using pastel pencils to create portraits that really kind of glow so I thought I’d try it out on this particular work. Lo and behold, it ended up being awesome, but it also took a loooooooong time to do!
So apologies for making you wait so long for the latest in my Old (Dead) Masters series, but wasn’t it worth it? I think so!
Here’s my take on Johannes Vermeer’s “Girl with a Pearl Earring.” I can’t remember now how I happened to decide on this one for my Old (Dead) Masters series, but it might have had something to do with my scaling my artwork down right now while we wait for our house to sell.
All my studio is packed away and has been for weeks and it just got to the point where I decided I’d rather paint small than not at all! Accordingly, this is a relatively small painting, only 8×10″, perfect for an apartment or tiny house!
Nearly finished with this one. It’s been such a great challenge! So many figures. You really come to understand better how brilliant Toulouse-Lautrec was in the way that he arranged the people in this painting, and made decisions about colors and values. My palette for this was twelve NuPastels, by the way. I wasn’t sure about using black, but in the end, I did it and I’m glad. It really pushed the forms and added so much to the painting overall.
I still have some tweaking and cleaning up to do, but the next time you see this, it will be done, done, done. Here are the progress pics:
Starting at the upper left…
and moving diagonally toward the right…
Working on the central figure’s dress. So fancy!
Tackling the underlighting on the right skull.
Filling in the details on the other heads.
Here’s a picture of my iPad perched on top of my easel. I took my skeleton model and lit it so that I could use it as a reference.
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I have copies this painting before, way back when I was in college. Back then I made a wood cut print and turned all the figures into punks. It was awesome. My brother and his wife have one of my artist’s proofs framed in their home. I thought it’d make a great entry in my Old (Dead) Masters series, so I’m tackling it again in pastel.
I love Toulouse-Lautrec. His paintings are surreal looking, especially this one, with the ghostly green face of the woman on the right, the crazy angles of the bar and the floor boards. I love the young ladies preening in front of the mirrors along the back of the room. It’s a great painting and I feel lucky to be able to screw around with it.
Here’s some work in progress pictures of my initial sketch for this painting. Notice that I started this the first time with the paper the wrong way up. I had to wipe out the first charcoal drawing and turn it 90 degrees and start again. Oh well. It’s my brain. It remembers things just fine, but usually kitty-whompus, like I’ll remember colors but complementary to the ones that are actually there. I’ll substitute blue for orange and red for green. In this case, I remembered wrongly which side was longer. Weird. Check twice, draw once.
Look at all the top hats!
Figuring out the relationships between the figures.
Close up on the greenish face on the right.
More work to be done, but a good start here.