When my mom moved from her house into an apartment about 5 years ago, her photo albums pretty much fell apart. We spent quite a bit of time sorting through old family photos, which included my grandma's and dad's pictures as well - scanning them, writing down some of the names of people in the photos and the stories behind them, before they are forgotten.
One of her favorites is a photo of her at around age 20 wearing a dirndl (traditional German dress) she made out of winter-weight fabric. I always liked that one too.
I wondered if I could create a decent painting from that photo. So of course I had to try. As you can see, the photo is sepia-toned. I didn't want to stick to just those tones for the painting, and didn't want to go full color either ... so I tried for a middle ground, and like the way it's turning out - sort of a lightly colorized vintage look.
Then I started getting ideas about other paintings I could do from our old photos. I have a whole series planned out already (if only I could paint as fast as I can conjure up ideas!) I almost wish I had thought of that before, and chosen a different photo to start with, because finishing this one is turning out to be tougher than I expected.
Doing justice to my mother's beautiful 20-year-old face is not easy. I have reworked the details of the face three times now and am still not satisfied with it. This is much harder than painting a stranger. Especially since she will see it when it's done, and I want her to see herself in it and like how I portrayed her.
So along comes this call for entries for an annual exhibit on women at the Contemporary Art Institute of Detroit. Right before the deadline I decided to enter this 98% finished portrait. It has been accepted for the exhibit. Now I MUST finish it.
The painting needs to be dropped off at the gallery February 28th.
Thank goodness I tend to work well with deadlines.