Sunday, February 24, 2013

Artistic License

This was one of my first museum paintings & people in museums have become one of my favorite subjects to paint. 

I saw this young lady at the Smithsonian Portrait gallery.  I liked the color of the wall and how the young lady was so casual in that formal setting.  But as I painted it I realized the museum painting was a dark portrait and didn't work at all with this gal.  Plus, I just didn't like it.  So I walked around the Smithsonian National Gallery until I found a painting I thought matched her personality.

Finished Painting (sold)

The roughed in painting, first layer
I enjoy starting with an under-painting to get a feel for what works and what doesn't.  
  • After this quick under-painting, I decided the green was too bright, I wanted more color in her shirt, and I wanted to change the painting from the wall.   
    • The beautiful Renoir replaced the roughed in18th Century portrait
    • Changed the color of her shirt to blue once I decided on the painting I would use
    • The wall was toned down
    • Highlights & shadows were added throughout the painting
    • A touch of light blue was added to the right to indicate a hallway and add more light to the painting and to balance the blue in the museum painting & her shirt
    • Changed the color of her flip flops to red


  1. I love the idea of finding a painting to suit someone's personality! Beautiful painting and fun to see the changes you made.

  2. Thank you. Its been a journey for me to step away from a photo reference and finish a painting without them. I'm learning that's half the fun.

  3. Really good improvements, Lydia! Thanks for sharing your thoughts and both paintings. I know I am not the only one who learns from postings like this.