Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Re-working a portrait in Watercolor

Lee Perry as an Army Nurse in the Philippines.

Fernando Amorsolo https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fernando_Amorsolo , a wonderful painter from the Philippines,  painted her portrait and asked her to pose without smiling in a photo that he could use to prep.  As we all know painting portraits of folks smiling always leads to an odd emphasis on the teeth which throws off the portrait.

Lee in her test pose 

Lee Perry by Fernando Amorsolo
Lee did not want to be painted in her uniform and borrowed this green dress for the sittings

Lee Perry

When I first started to paint I did this portrait from Lee's test photo.
I wanted it to be somewhat stylized but I always felt that the upper lip was a bit too wide.
This was done in 2010

Lee Perry

I had a last minute solo show at City Hall in Annapolis and had to come up with a number of paintings.  I decided that the time was ripe to attempt to "improve" on the original watercolor of Lee that I had done in 2010.  One of the most interesting discoveries was that one didn't necessarily have to be completely exact in a rendition in order to have a subject look like themselves in a portrait.  Looking at the lovely work done by Fernando Amorsolo one can see that there are some slight differences but that the overall effect is spot on and very beautiful.

It isn't easy to correct watercolor as those who choose to work in this wonderful medium know all too well.  But I am pleased with the result and am afraid to tamper with it anymore.

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