Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Madame Monocle

During the coldest part of January I got a call for a commission to recreate a portrait I created in 2010 of a nude wearing a monocle entitled, "After Hours," (aptly nicknamed "Miss Monacle"):

After Hours ("Miss Monacle")

I couldn't have been more excited!  I was ready to paint during one of the many snowstorms to occur in New York this winter.  I was overjoyed to recreate her because she was one of my favorites and because it was a birthday surprise for a cool gal I know, a present from her boyfriend. He decided he wanted me to include the necklace in the painting that he bought for her (which I love).  The painting was a surprise (I am friends with her on Instagram and almost posted an in-progress shot - I'm glad I caught myself!)

While examining the old painting, I of course got into my nit picky routine: "Why is that line there, and why didn't I shade that part before?" Ha! So, when I created the new piece,  I got even more nit picky and wanted her to be perfect. It also presented a chance to correct things that needed to be changed in the old version. The rituals after the painting was finished were hilarious - adding hair, then pacing the room, then going back to change her smile, having a sip of coffee, then deliberating on this and that.  As silly and crazy as the deliberating part sounds, it really is such an essential part of the process because it helps me get perspective. Some of the main changes I made were giving her skin a more smooth and balanced quality, making her monacle look more realistic, and changing her expression to look confident and thought-provoking.  I loved adding the necklace to give her a more personal touch, and I think it added balance to the ornament (monocle) she is wearing. From the planning, sketching, painting, deliberating, finishing up, and framing parts of the process, I'm happy how it turned out!  And best of all, the birthday girl liked it.  Hooray!  

After Hours II  ("Madame Monacle")

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