The Dress, Signs of the Times and a Painting (rough draft)

The Dress.  I guess I am an optimist, or perhaps it’s that I am a pessimist?  Several months ago I purchased a gorgeous gown for the inauguration (I have a dear friend who is taking me).  So I decided to buy the dress when the election was still up in the air.  I figured there was no way I’d find such a beautiful dress in December or January.  The dress makes me feel I am skinny as a stick so I think I am on the right track. 

Luckily Obama won and if all goes right I will be a Cinderella at one of the inaugural balls, we’ve been invited to two so far, but I really want to hit one hosted by Montana.  I went to college there and most of my friends who worked with the campaign are from there as well.

In a fit of bipartisan goodwill, my friend Pat offered to alter the dress for me.  Keep in mind this sucker had french seams and consisted of yards and yards of royal blue silk satin skirt and liner.  I am terrified to even attempt such alterations with my 20 year old sewing machine.  Pat worked on it with her machine and by hand.  I will get it tomorrow night!

Wasn’t sure what to give her as a thank you gift for what she’s done.  I think I hit on it but not 100% sure.  I guess I will find out when it arrives at her house tomorrow.

Speaking of the inauguration, I attended a party a few weeks ago and one of the guests told me she was renting out her house for 3 nights for $15k! She lives on Capitol Hill in DC the hub for all of the events but holy smokes $15K??

Sign of the Times.  Well most of the Obama/McCain signs are down.  Tonight I took a walk in Old Town Alexandria (I was visiting my painting in a show) when I was amused to see that the sign wars on Prince Street and South Columbus Street were over.  I should have driven down there to see if the McCain signs were up on November 5th.

One thing about the political signs that really bothered me, the one that I had in front of my house was constantly vandalised.  They finally ripped it out of the dirt and threw it in the street.  What is wrong with people?  Makes me glad that I never place political stickers on my car.

Rough Draft

Rough Draft


A Painting.  This image is is lighter than the actual image.  The model was sitting in front of a deep violet satin backdrop, her skin is very pale and her hair is very dark brown with these amazing magenta highlights.

The main thing I concentrated in this first attempt is to capture her likeness, accurately place the darks and work carefully to transition to color.  The third item, the transition to color is where I usually have problems.

I started with an underpainting of burnt umber on a toned panel.  Once I was happy with it, I mixed permanent rose, cad yellow light and titanium white.  Her temple area was a blue grey  and the lowest part of her hair is really so dark that it’s a coal black.  The lips look a mess but the shadows are accurate and you can get (I hope) a sense of the structure of her mouth.  I placed a light glaze of violet behind her to gauge how pale the skin color will look. 

Hopefully things will go well tomorrow night when we have our final sitting with her. I need to rework the darks of her hair and face, clarify her lips and chin and then hit the neck.  Other than darkening the background it should be done.  Since the purpose is to work on not being afraid of adding color I am not as worried about likeness (although its a good one right now) and more concerned with temperature and color values.


4 responses to “The Dress, Signs of the Times and a Painting (rough draft)

  1. You weren’t leaving your political affiliations up in the air then? 😉

    Speaking as one person who does heads to another, I especially appreciate the fine work along the line of the nose and the brow bone. The mouth is always a mess at some point but getting brows and noses right in line and tone makes a huge difference – and you’ve definitely got a convincing portrait on that score already.

  2. Hi Katherine,
    Actually I am independent for now. Grew up in a democratic family and switched to republican once I lived on my own. I did volunteer for Senator Biden and am a huge fan.

  3. seeing nice progress in your work! keep it up and keep spending time with R Lib! Drawing – I think it’s so so key to developing your painting.. If I can, I draw from life as many days of the week as possible.. cheers and thanks for kind words a while back! cheers, kevin

  4. Hi Kevin,
    Sorry I haven’t responded to your email so far. I do have several questions for you about the different schools you looked at.

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