I always love the day I actually get down to starting a painting! Usually, I think about them a while before I ever pull out a canvas and get to work. This particular portrait was no exception. Back in early summer, my grand daughter had her first dance recital. We were not able to attend, so my son sent us photos. As soon as I saw this photo, I knew I would have to paint it one day soon. I love it because of the complete happiness I see here. Her head is thrown back, her smile is wide, and she is very pleased with herself!
In planning this painting I was very uncertain about the best way to approach it. The way the light is, I could see it set on a stage, performance over, darkness surrounds her other than the one bright stage light capturing her joy. I could also see it in the bright colors she loves, turquoise, orange and pink with no dramatic lighting and only the pose and colors representing the joy. In the end, I have chosen the color, but I had to remind myself a few times that this is ONLY paint and that if it isn't right, then, I can just do another one! Remember that when you are afraid to move forward! This is ONLY paint!
This is a large painting, 40X30. Given its size and my lack of experience at painting at that size, I decided to grid the drawing. It does give one a bit of security in the beginning. Of course, once the painting process starts, the drawing is covered and you just have to go on without it! Today, using the grid is a great security blanket for me, and Im happy to have it! No apologies!
I know that the text on the photo says that I used graphite, but I did not. It is all charcoal. I don't know why I put that on there! Also, Instead of drawing in her eyes, I just indicated the eye socket. I didn't want my focus to be on that much detail at this point. I was also afraid that as I painted the lids, i would be timid and afraid of messing up my drawing if i had taken too much care with details.