There must be a trick to it, one as yet still being kept secret from me: How to portray youthfulness? I have hear it posited that the facial features of children fit into a smaller area of the head. As we age, the features enlarge and spread out. But what about a teenager? When do their features settle down in the spots preordained for their adult selves? Why is it so hard to portray rosy young woman without making her look like a made-up hussy? I guess it’s really the same old issue, that of getting a likeness, just with the added complexity of pinpointing an age range.
Monday’s model was my nineteen-year-old granddaughter. This is how the camera renders her.
For most of Natalie’s life, and certainly all of my [ten-year-old] life as an artist, I have been trying to capture her on paper. Every time I try, I fail. She always comes out looking older, more sophisticated than her much-older sister. Monday was my first opportunity to paint her from life and I sure hoped that would make a difference. One issue seemed to be the length of her nose (as I was presenting it), so I shortened it by bringing down the level of her eyes. That did help. Note that this adjustment is consistent with the theory that children’s features are closer together.
As I griped throughout the session, Laura opined that youthful features are best barely suggested as opposed to carefully implanted. It certainly did work for her painting. And now, in hindsight, I can think of some great paintings of children where that is certainly true–e.g., virtually all of Sargent’s paintings of children. Sigh. Sometimes it is harder to do less. No, it is always harder to do less!
Towards the end of our session, she asked me for a photo of her posing next to my painting, for her to send to her social networking sites:
And here is the final. I would not dare to try to correct anything at this point, so glad I am to have got this close to the goal.
Aline Lotter is currently exhibiting:
with the East Colony artists for the rest of June at 163 (167) Water Street, Exeter, NH; at the Bedford Public Library; at the Bartlett Inn in Bartlett; at the Bernerhof Inn in Glen; at the Red Jacket Inn in North Conway; at the Sharon Arts Center in Peterborough, NH; at the Buttonwoods Museum in Haverhill, MA; and at the law offices of Mesmer and Deleault at 41 Brook St in Manchester.
As usual, you may view paintings with prices and order prints, iPhone cases and the like at my Fine Art America page. If the painting you are interested in is not there, or if you prefer to bypass that experience, you may contact me by email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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