Monday, 10 October 2011

study of dreams series 2/vi 12" x 16"

oils on canvas

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I recently watched a video by Scott Waddell and used his model (i mean the actual person frozen on computer screen) and his palette to paint this portrait. it was interesting to compare my choices with his ... an excellent learning experience. it was quite a challenge to work deprived of colours that i am instinctively drawn to but it makes one more creative to use what they have. Scott starts with a pencil sketch of the subject and then transfers that to canvas and outlines it with raw umber. he then works like an ant over the surface of the face moulding it with the paint.

my process is rather different: i start with my brush and raw umber diluted with a mix of turps and linseed and feel my way around the face... several hours and even a day later i am still fiddling around with the underpainting. then i move in with the other colours, developing form and sometimes i make major changes to my underpainting as i really get to know the face. i take short breaks as i become quite blind to the larger picture

perhaps this painting would not have been done if a portrait i had been working on for over two weeks had not been destroyed;)


  1. Nice portrait Rahina,
    something I haven't done for a while, worked after another artists work for study, come to think of it I haven't done a portrait for some time...

    I can easily see you working this palette into yours.
    It already shows your own unique touches.

  2. You have me worried what painting has been destroyed? Don't let it be Chuck!.... Rahina I really hope all is well in the studio and that you are not treading onto old portraits by accident or purpose! I believe you have had a long break away from the painting during the summer months due to your hand injury. It must be difficult to get back into the swing of things as you work very much as an emotive painter. While your work is very skillful it is most of all led by your own inner vision. This delicate feminine portrait has you working well and with thought. I see this as an exercise. Do you work from live models or are you working from photos? I have heard that doing portraits from photos can be very hard as it is difficult to capture the personality of the sitter. I have heard that there is a bond between sitter and artist where the artist discovers the character of the sitter. This must be quite something. I remember painting a portrait of my brother I think I mentioned it to you before and it was far better than working from a photo. He was a fidget as I remember!and we were school children at the time!

  3. A lovely piece. I like the warm skin against the cool gray background.

  4. You've met this challenge beautifully. I love the serene look of her and your method and palette strengthen that. Very well done.

  5. hi David, thank you for your thoughts on this study. i actually looked at the woman who he painted rather than the actual portrait that he made so i don't know if i can say that this is 'after' Scott's work... more like two people looking at the same model but i did use his palette (titanium white, cad yellow, cad orange, yellow ochre, cad red, alizarin crimson, raw umber and ivory black). my own palette would usually have burnt umber and ultramarine blue and purple lake also and then a few others during glazing.

    hi Caroline, firstly, thank you for taking the time to reflect on my post and give your thoughts so openly. i always appreciate this. so to answer your questions, the portrait was a self-portrait and had it's merits but it started to move from the realms of art to a personal examination.... i ripped it in half as it was the only way to move on. i am sure i am not the first person to do this nor is this the first time i have destroyed a painting;) the hand operation did hold me back briefly but it is mostly my long stints doing my day job that take me away from the easel and it is impossible for me to paint and do that at the same time. i am off to York again for 4 weeks so expect more grunts and moans when i get back;) painting from a live model is a luxury that i wish i could afford, so, i work from photos and i am the only live model i have thus the repeated self-portraits. and models fidgeting is all part of the process and breaks up the attention of the artist in a natural way and having your brother sit for you, well, that just sounds fantastic but i don't know how many people would sit for me for up to 10 hours a day for ten days or more. i have just noticed i have ranted on and on here. thanks again for your comment Caroline

    thanks Bill, having seen your portraits, i am pleased you approve.

    thank you Mary, now i just need some of that energetic brushwork that you possess to make it coem to life;)

  6. i'm so glad you did this but what was destroyed? if you're unhappy with it put it away for a bit. i find i'm pleasantly surprised when i take it out again.

    this is a stunning portrait! i find if i use a limited palette i stay out of trouble. this is just lovely rahina!

  7. On the subject of destroying paintings... Oh yeah, it must be done sometimes, others may cringe but for the artist it is cathartic, cleaning us of a failure so we can move on. I have done the same... and I mean destroying it, not painting over it.

    I too have been able to put aside paintings that i'm struggling with, coming back for a fresh look later and then finishing it. Those are the ones 'battling me' a bit but without overwhelming forces. If I'm feeling like General Custer, forget it.

    Even the greats like James Gurney experience this.
    3 posts below from his blog touch on this subject.

  8. thanks for sharing our experiences on this topic David and for the links:)

  9. thanks Nicki, good to hear you like it:)

  10. interesting comments here Rahina. I love what David wrote. both comments. We definitely all have torn up paintings. At tiems they make joyful fire starters. And I have no qualmes about doing so. I have a stack rith now that needs to be torched. Others I have even sold that I wish I could get back and do the same with. I do love what you have done with this portrait. It is so clean looking. Watching your work over the past several years I have seen such a maturation. You are definitely on the right track.

  11. good to hear your perspective on this subject Gary: i agree there is a sigh of relief as the canvas rips to the point of no return... it's done, it can't be undone, and there is never regret. what was painful was watching a painting going wrong and trying to make it work. i agree also that sometimes it is good to put a painting away and come back to it but the painting that i ripped up had had enough chances;) thank you for your kind and honest thoughts on my work. appreciated Gary:)

  12. L'art du portrait, que tu maîtrises parfaitement, est certainement la discipline la plus difficile en peinture. Même si ton art est loin du mien( je suis land artiste) je sais reconnaître le talent quand il s'exprime, comme dans tes compositions.
    Je te félicite.


  13. Roger, merci beaucoup. Je vous remercie de vos pensées. Vos paysages sont magnifiques.
    (i apologise for the translation in French.... not my fault, blame google translator ;)


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