Tootsie. 14x11, oil on linen. 2017
This newly completed painting ranks as one of the most demanding I've ever done: the long hair, head-on lighting, complex shadows, and strong colors all combined to make the work particularly complex.
Four iterations of design were tried out before I settled on this one (the alternate color schemes used backgrounds of solid orange, maroon, and light blue). Designing a portrait takes longer every time I do it, but the reward for being sure of my color choices in advance is that the actual painting takes much less effort.
Starting from a simple block-in I tried to paint the portrait by bringing everything to the same state of completion all at once. That meant I didn't really finish any part of the painting before any other. This approach was a great help in getting soft edges; although some parts of the painting went through a couple of revisions, the soft edges were good from almost the first day - a major accomplishment!
The palette was ultramarine blue, alizarin permanent, cad orange, cad yellow medium. As well as producing a wide range of warm and cool grays, these allowed most of the portrait to be done with opaque paint. The darkest darks were created from a semi-transparent mix of ultramarine blue and burnt sienna with a little gray added.
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