|A Commission by April M Rimpo|
I don't talk a lot about doing commissions since I have so many ideas for my own to painting, but I have found when someone approaches me for a commission that it ends up being a great experience. I've done portraits of people, as you see here, and also portraits of favorite vacation spots which can be city scapes or land scapes. I like trying to get a sense of the people or of the place before I start and it's important for me to understand what the person requesting the painting likes about my artwork (e.g., which are their favorite paintings of mine). This helps me understand what style they are looking for in the painting. We also talk about color scheme. I evaluate the reference photographs to see if the image quality is sufficient for me to be able to see the details and colors well enough to produce a good painting.
This painting is in watercolor. I knew I wanted to be able to lift colors in the hair to produce the glint of the sunlight and to have wisps of hair blowing in the breeze. Having been painting more with fluid acrylic than watercolor for the last year I was most concerned about getting the background nice rich browns and burnt orange with touches of blue and turquoise. Watercolor dries lighter than it looks when wet, while fluid acrylic does not fade as much, so you have to adjust for that.I figured if I could get the background right the rest would be fine. I know some artists start with the faces because they find those the hardest part. I've painted enough people that I don't worry too much getting the people right.
I did a practice run of the background on a scrap sheet of paper which came out fine. So I went ahead, masked the edges of the hair, then painted the background using primarily Daniel Smith's Quinacridone Burnt Orange and French Ultramarine Blue. For the lighter browns I incorporated some Quinacridone Coral. To complement the turquoise necklace I used some Pthalo Turquoise ad Pthalo Blue.
Unfortunately, when the background was dry it was lighter than I wanted, so I had to get up the courage to give it a second coat. I rewet the paper using a hake brush that I knew would not disturb the first coat of paint, then added more pigment using the same colors from the first coat, less the Quinacridone Coral. It came out just like I wanted, so I could now relax and paint this beautiful woman and her daughters.
The husband gave the painting as a gift to his wife and daughters, who are now in their late teens. Upon receipt the feedback from the husband was "fantastic", which was great to hear. I'm looking forward to hearing his family's reaction.
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