I have been working on the last part of the family portrait suite. I started by covering the entire surface with black, which created a very nice structure. Then I spontaneously struggled to find the face. It is like learning to see – by going back and forth I am slowly becoming aware of the characteristics of the face. The first layer was done in light grey, diluted with a lot of oil.
The plan was to add several thin layers and keep searching for the face. In the process I have only made a few meassurements to check the position of the eyes, the nostrils, and the mouth.
After letting the paint dry, I continued with more white, and a touch of light red, adding a bit of black in the dark parts. I worked quickly and without thinking too much, moving about in a pretty irrational way – a little here, a little there.
Suddenly I felt there was a quality of the work that I did not want to eliminate by working too much, so I decided to take a break and check with the family how they felt about the piece. I was a bit nervous as I was wondering if they would think the painting was too rough and not exact.
On the contrary, they felt I had been able to capture his attitude and they could immediately see their son in the work. Needless to say, I was quite pleased.
Slow process in the studio right now. Yesterday I visited Louisiana and Ordrupgaard in Denmark. It is good to get some new inspiration and ideas…
I left some of the white paint untouched in the lower left corner. When you look at the painting from an angle, it almost looks like glare. Now it seems like the face is appearing or disappearing in fog or something. Maybe the face is being forgotten?
It is an interesting face, as it partly looks Asian. I think I will be returning to this face more than once.
I have been painting some again. While I am waiting for visitors I am working. It is not ideal, as I am occasionally interrupted, but it is equally hard to work when I am wondering if somebody will come. It is a lot easier to work days when I am not open for visitors.
Now I have come this far. I wonder if I am finished? Not sure. As you can see I have been lucky with the grain under the eye and around the nose. You can go to the post from 6 July to see the first steps.
Yesterday we had a very successful opening of the Summer Exhibition at Villa Holsby. In spite of nice weather a lot of people came, much more visitors than expected. It was a great reward after days of hard work to get everything ready!
Last, but not least, architect Alex van de Beld had built a brick wall inside the window in one of the rooms, and together with his colleagues, he displayed three small models of fascinating house ideas for this region.
All visitors were very positive, we all received great feedback. I am very grateful to my colleagues, who wanted to contribute to this event. The exhibition continues until the middle or end of August.
I am spending a lot of time in the studio again. Now I am preparing for the summer exhibition. It will start on Thursday 15 July and will probably go on until the end of August. I will be joined by three other artists and one architect/artist. More about them soon…
I expect that this painting will require quite a few layers. These two steps were done very quickly, based on thin pencil outlines.
It has been a very busy time with preparations for the celebration of our 25 year anniversary and my birthday. We were lucky with the weather and had very nice guests.
80 x 40 cm. A careful start to find the face.
After some hours. An almost photographic image that felt more like an illustration than a piece of art? I felt quite miserable in the process – the feeling “I can’t paint anymore” that hits me now and then, and which is a good feeling, because it makes me try harder. I will start on the other half of the face and do it very differently, and then go back to this painting and see what I can do. Maybe several layers of varnish will help create some action – some disturbing glare…?