Hat Series

Hat Series 2: the beginning of the drawing

I haven't completed the first painting in my "Hat Series", but I was pretty sick last night (love sheep's milk cheese, but boy am I allergic to it) and when I woke up this morning I felt pretty shaky and not up to painting.  I didn't want to cancel on my model, so I thought something that would cheer me up is dressing her up and starting on the second hat painting (it absolutely did:)).  I got this hat from a vintage hat seller on ebay.  It took a long time to figure out the pose, etc., but here's what I decided on.  The drawing isn't done, but you can see the major outlines of the pose.  hatseries2drawing72dpi

Today's work: Ebauche on Hat Painting #1

hat ebauche 2
hat ebauche 2

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. 

hat ebauche close up 2
hat ebauche close up 2

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).

compositionalstudy1
compositionalstudy1
compositionalstudy2
compositionalstudy2

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: 

compositionalstudyCarol
compositionalstudyCarol

From Carol to me: "[Y]ou can interpret her hands as either gloves or hideously deformed primitive claws--whichever you think is best."

Hat Series

Vogue
Vogue

In January I am planning a new series of figurative paintings which I'm incredibly excited about.  I've booked Victoria Lee, my muse who sat for the painting that is on the main page of my website, and I have procured THE spectacular hat created by haute couture milliner Ellen Christine and that was featured in the December issue of Vogue (yes, THE one and only actual hat, worn by the model on the right with the red vulture feather from the 1920s).  The name of the hat is Ninotchka, after the 1939 film starring Greta Garbo.