Thursday, December 3, 2015

The making of "Young Subway Reader"

Some art appreciators find a description of the process of making art illuminating. Here's how the painting in my previous post, "Young Subway Reader", evolved:

It began when I photographed an unsuspecting young woman on the subway. Spaniards who read in public don't like prying eyes to scrutinize the covers of their books, with those tell-tale titles and authors' names. They prefer to use recycled paper to cover the book; the cover in this case may have been a page from a slick-paper magazine.

On an acrylic background in dark blue, gray and blue-tinted white, I roughed in her figure and the book she was reading. This was painted alla prima--no prelimary studies nor drawing were involved.

In a later session, I worked on her face and corrected her right arm and torso:

The following sessions involved further work on the face, correction and detailing of the hands and left arm, and correction of the head, which needed to be reduced in size to bring it into better proportion:

Completing the painting meant civilizing the background, completing the woman's hair, infusing more light and life into her left arm and hand, adding some shading to the book cover and signing the work in the lower right-hand corner.


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