The oil portrait of Lescella is finished and was delivered to my client. I am very proud and honored to have been able to paint a memorial portrait in both a pastel and oil painting of this lovely lady. My client was very moved and happy with the oil painting of her mother.
This portrait painting presented some challenges I had not encountered before. In choosing the background color, I had to be careful of how it would balance out the subject’s coloring. Usually, a person with darker coloring is painted against a lighter background to better define the subject, but this subject’s lovely gray hair would not have shown up as well. In order to compliment the orange and brown flesh tones, a blue background was chosen (complementary on the color wheel). I adjusted the values to create some sense of space behind her, as well as define her hair. The choice of flowers in the background was suggested by my client, who said that her mother liked to create flower arrangements with calla lilies and one bird of paradise, which is a very unique and creative idea. I changed the arrangement a bit from the pastel painting, and muted the colors so it would fall back behind the subject. The pattern on the jacket was probably the biggest challenge. I hope my efforts were successful in conveying the texture and pattern of the fabric, but not so much that it would compete for attention with her face. You can see the under painting and first color stages of this oil painting portrait in previous posts.
Here is a detail shot of the face. It is always difficult to work from a photograph instead of from a live sitting, and get a naturalistic result. But, in this case, I feel that some of Lescella’s spirit and life comes through in the portrait. I really enjoyed painting this lovely lady’s face, as she has such warmth and spirit in her eyes, which I wanted to convey to the viewer. A portrait artist could not ask for a more rewarding comment than that of a co-worker of my client who saw the oil portrait and later said: “Looking at that painting I felt like I’ve met her mother.” So do I.