5 February 2014

As Elisabeth Vigee Le Brun

Elisabeth Vigee Le Brun, as seen in the lower painting in a self-portrait, was a celebrated and very successful portrait artist. She made a name for herself painting royalty in the 18th and early 19th centuries, Marie Antoinette in particular. In spite of her success, her life was not easy, and her autobiography makes for very interesting reading. I have a fascination for the social history of those times. What was daily life really like? We get just a glimpse of it in novels such as the ones by Jane Austen, and in many contemporary autobiographies. Yet what was common for the ones living in those times would not have been written, even though it would have been extraordinary reading for us.  
I wanted to put myself into a classic portrait, as I had done for others, and was considering who's portrait it would be, when I discovered a book in the library about Vigee Le Brun. Female artists were not common in her time, and her story is compelling, especially for me as an artist. She painted a number of self-portraits, so finding one that she did at an age close to mine became the perfect fit. 
So now that I have read about her life and painted her work, I really can't say that I know what it would have been like to be in her place, but at least I have an idea of what I would have looked like to be in her place. Fascinating stuff for sure. 

24 January 2014

Annie With a Pearl Earring

In this classic portrait, I have painted my daughter, Annie, into Jan (Johannes) Vermeer's masterful work, Girl With a Pearl Earring. The original was done in oils, but I have done it in watercolor. To see this painting as a work in progress throughout its many stages, see my Facebook Page, from January 14 to 23. I am looking forward to doing more classic portraits, and sometimes my mind races thinking up the possibilities.

4 January 2014

Chiko and Tina

This is the second commission I donated to the Chilliwack SPCA at their annual Paws For a Cause event. It was awarded to Roz Miller for her successful fundraising efforts last year for this worthy cause . Her chihuahua and dachshund, both rescues, posed beautifully for Roz's excellent reference photo, making this portrait a special joy to paint. I really like the high contrast lighting, and the contrasting brilliance on white and black fur. To see this painting in its earlier stages as a work in progress, and Roz receiving this award, see my Facebook Page entries dated from January 7 to January 13.