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Thursday, September 5, 2013

Swell party, where's the whisky?

Last night I got the urge to do another portrait in watercolor. The last couple I did went so well I thought I'd tempt fate and see if I could replicate that energy a third time. The first two I did were of my wife Dina and her brother's - girlfriend's - son I did as a gift to her for Christmas. I love working in watercolors and the portrait in oils classes I took directly contributed to my abilities of painting in watercolors.

The subject for this portrait study is Maureen O'Hara (and a gift for my mom). Maureen is a classic film star and close personal friend to my mom. I've met Maureen on a number of occasions and I'll never forget what it was like to sit in the presence of such a talented and wonderful actress. In the portrait I wanted to capture that proud, stoic, Irish personality. So, I went looking through all of my mom's pictures of Maureen - so many to choose from. But they were all very gorgeously lit and posed pictures. I wanted something with just the right amount of lighting, of her standing tall. I found it in a publicity still of her and John Wayne from "McLintock!"

I very nearly abandoned the painting half way through... I wasn't happy with the energy that I was painting it with... the last painting I did of Dina was painted with such love for her and my hope of capturing her beauty in such a somber pose. I left the Maureen painting, half done, over night and came back to it the next day and just started painting. Then it clicked and that energy I was looking for took hold. There are some things I'd like to fix on it - colors and a few strokes here and there - but I am happy I didn't give up.

I presented it to my mom and she loves it. I will take the original to her end of this month when Dina and I go back to Phoenix for a family visit. I'm hoping Maureen will see it too.

If you're not feeling the drawing or painting you're working on, leave it and come back to it later... you might see it with new eyes or find that groove you were looking for in the first place.

Watercolor on Arches watercolor board - 11.5" x 16"

detail and texture close-up
Here are the other two portraits...