Full exciting day- 16x20 oil portrait of couple from sittings


At four o'clock today this wonderful couple, Don and Camille, walked into the gallery and within a few minutes had decided to sit for an oil portrait NOW. I set up the light and easel, refreshed some paint on my palette and off we went! I sketched in Don with thinned burnt umber and then asked Camille to take the portrait stand and got her sketched in as well. They swapped places again and I painted Don while we all got to know each other. Camille has excellent interview skills, so they now know my whole life story. But when it was time to paint her, Don used my computer to check his email and tables were turned- I got to hear one remarkable story after another. One or two were jaw-droppers. I got Don back for a while to paint his shirt, then Camille again for collar and necklace details. It was 8:45 when we declared it finished. Wow. I know they found it hard to understand, but I told them that when I start a painting from life, I feel as though I just walked off the top of a 20 story building out into thin air. I always just hope I remember how to do this and then paint like crazy.
Thursday, when I go back to the gallery, I'll look at it with fresh eyes and see what needs what. When it's dry and then varnished and then dry again, I'll ship it off to them where they live near Seattle.
I caught the last bus out of downtown and have eaten a very late supper. Now I need sleep in a desperate sort of way....

12 comments:

theresamillerwatercolors said...

Dear Susan: You have been so busy and doing wonderful work! I shall start a list of blogs that enjoy reading and will start with yours, if you don't mind. Have a good day!

Rose Welty said...

Susan, this is lovely. You certainly can do this, cliff and all! No doubt they will be pleased.

Susan Carlin said...

Thank you, Theresa and Rose. Rose, they were pleased when they left the gallery last night, but I still want to see if I can move the background more "back" and make it a bit more textural. I see a shoulder shadow on Don that needs more definition, too. This isn't "my" day at the gallery, but I may have to go anyway and work on this before the paint sets up too much. I wonder when I'll lose that cliff feeling? I've been at this professionally in some form for 33 years!

ChrisB said...

Hi Susan - as always your confidence and courage are inspiring. I'm going to call this immediate portrait painting - plein air portraits. You're amazing! And, I'm glad you still got a bus home. :o)

Barbara Pask said...

Hi Susan, I like the last comment, "plein air portraits". You are amazing, I think you have a wonderful marketing tool with the one hour portraits. I bet this couple were thrilled with this. Barb

Dianne Mize said...

Now that's good stuff! And aren't we all the same way, wondering whether we still know how to do that. I refrain from a lecture. What energy you've caught here. How I wish you would have had your flip camera turned on. Or perhaps it would have stifled things. Keep rolling!

A Painting A Day by Diana Marshall said...

incredible portraits, what a blast you must have had, I bet the adrenaline was flowing.
I tried out your formular for flesh tone - cad red and sap green and to my suprise it makes a great colour which I've used today on a little portrait.

Ann Reyes said...

Wow! You've been busy! Your portraits are getting better and better. You're so good! I think it's amazing how you can do a portrait from life in an hour--and it turn out so well. I'm impressed!!!

Amy Sullivan said...

Very Cool Susan! And what a neat couple, making a snap decision like that.What a great memory they just made for themselves.The portrait looks fresh, I am seeing their personality's shining threw. They are going to be so happy they walked into your gallery. Amy

Pattie said...

These people will be very pleased, I am certain. Sounds like all 3 of you enjoyed the company together! I know what you are saying about walking off the top of a 20 story building sometimes. It happens to alot of us, I think.

Frank Gardner said...

Amazing that you did that just like that. Looks great.

I am trying to catch up on the last few weeks here. So much good stuff Susan.

"JeanneG" said...

Having to do that on the spur of the moment would have scared me to death. I have only done quick sketches of a couple people IRL. And they were teens, or relatives. Not sure I would be able to get the jitters under control. But you did a great job.