Portrait #6: the Paper-Doll Relationship

You may feel this is not technically a portrait…but I like it as a portrait of my oldest daughter who loves to change the color of her nails no matter what time of day or night:)  This was the other abandoned drawing from last summer I found a week or so ago and decided to put the watercolor in this week.

Alex Powers, in his book, talks about two different ways of rendering a portrait:  Using the Paper-Doll Relationship or the Silhouette Relationship.  I quote: “The paper-doll relationship has the white shape coming forward in space as the dark shape recedes.  The only way to make a light shape come forward in space in a painting is to surround it on three or four sides with dark…The silhouette is the opposite of the paper-doll relationship of values in space.  The dark is in front, and the light is behind.” pgs. 44-45 margins.  This portrait is different from the others thus far, in that it is an example of the paper-doll relationship.  It was fun putting in all those dark luscious colors, but at one point I thought I had ruined the painting…

I am finding with each of these portraits, that I’m having a recurring experience:  I take a deep breath and begin painting.  I start with a color, any color and I respond to that color, that shape, that value and so on.  Pretty soon, the thought goes through my head, “Uh oh, this is not going to work.  These colors are all wrong, they won’t hold together, they are too wild.”  Water and pigment oozles and wazzles in places I hadn’t meant for it to, edges become too hard or too soft, or it just feels out of control.  I stick with it.  And eventually, it feels like pieces might be falling into place…”maybe this won’t be so bad after all.  Maybe, just MAYBE, I can salvage this, pull it off.”  And then, what-do-you-know?  It’s there, the finished painting.  And I’m pleased.  To be sure, there are adjustments to be made, minor (yet major) things to resolve, alter, shift; but it’s there…I can see that whatever was out of control has become a pleasing whole.

Perhaps I’m too easily pleased with my paintings.  I do think this is something I struggle with…  That of not being able to view my work absolutely unbiased and critically.  But that’s ok…I’ll grow in that too.  Oh, and here’s the drawing for this one:

Thanks again for dropping in!  I’m hoping your drawing and painting journeys are going well for you!

0 thoughts on “Portrait #6: the Paper-Doll Relationship

  1. Timaree (freebird) says:

    Such a typical pose for a teenager. This has that very loose feel it seems you’ve been talking about trying to achieve. It’s interesting that you did this a while back instead of now. It’s a wonderful painting of your daughter.

    • jenpedwards says:

      Actually, Timaree, I drew it last summer. It sat there, unpainted, until a few days ago. So, I think of it as having been created just now for this portrait journey. It would be interesting to somehow have duplicates of drawings, paint them one year, then the next year, and so on…then compare how I approached each one. Would be cool to see.

  2. Raena says:

    I most definitely consider this a portrait! It says more about who she is than the standard looking at you pose. And the colors are loose and beautiful. I’m glad to here that you sometimes feel like you’ve lost it, but push through anyway. I feel like that every time I pick up my brush. Sometimes I even abandon before pushing. I won’t be giving up so easily anymore!

  3. Alice Stroppel says:

    I love this portrait. I think you captured your subject perfectly. I’m happy to see that you’re please with what you are doing Why would we keep trying to improve if we didn’t like our work along the way. It doesn’t mean we don’t realize that we need to improve and grow, but that we are enjoying each step along the way.

  4. Alex Tan says:

    It’s awesome. I see colors being blended and forming the subject naturally. It looks very similar to the heat signature radiated from every objects or people around us captured by the infrared thermography cameras.
    Regardless of the category, it’s still an amazing art!

  5. Deborah says:

    Breathtaking! Expressive! My first wow was the violet purple in the hair – WOW! and then the face – so freely painted and so realistic at the same time. The colors so rich and juicy, and the light – the white paper just pops, right where it’s supposed to. All I could say in my head is, “She is such an amazing artist!”

  6. Lyn says:

    Wonderful series you’ve started! My first thought was “how like Charles Reid” and when I checked out the Artist Daily site, Janet Rogers is inspired by him! Jucie watercolors- no fear of color!
    Continued success!

  7. Sharon says:

    Love the painting of your daughter! I’d never heard of the paper doll relationship. Interesting and great colors! I look forward to seeing more! 🙂

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