I began this week working on the first painting in my hat series. This is the third day that I have worked with my model Victoria Lee (see post of 10 December 2009 for news about this incredible hat). This morning I worked on the ebauche, or thin, turpy first layer. Tomorrow I plan on completing the ebauche. I took a couple of pictures of my canvas with my camera phone because that's the only thing I've got now that my Canon PowerShoot A 95 (A, for Ancient) has died (just this morning unfortunately), but you can get an idea. The color of the first image is truer.
I usually spend one or two days (3-4-hour days) on the drawing if I'm doing a straight portrait. Victoria came with me to Ellen Christine Millinery to pick out the hat. Consequently, she looks amazing in it. The first day I usually spend some time getting to know the model and trying out different poses and lights. Victoria looked so great in the hat that almost any pose was going to work, so of course I had a really hard time choosing a set up. I did some quick pencil sketches and then spent a couple of hours doing these two little compositional paintings (below).
I ultimately decided to go with the profile because of the dynamic gesture unifying the hat and the model. I talked to some friends who had very helpful comments about the profile composition: "modern and classical (Egyptian) at the same time" (Toby); "I like how the feather comes out of nowhere" (Kristin); "dynamic" (Carol); "birdlike" and "unified" (Sarah).
I have to post this Photoshop image designed by my good friend, the excellent artist Carol Broman, because it is just too hilarious:
From Carol to me: "[Y]ou can interpret her hands as either gloves or hideously deformed primitive claws--whichever you think is best."