Oil Pastel Portrait of the Family Matriarch
Ida, Manuela's mother, passed away last year at 100 years old. Talk about a matriarch of the family -both the Italian and Slovenian sides. She kept everyone together until, eventually, the younger generation began to move to follow their careers. Ida was as sharp as a tack and could hold her own in many of the heated and loud discussions that occurred when we all met at her home. At all times, even in her housecoat, she wanted to look good -hair done, nails polished, properly attired. And, as if she did not have enough to do, Ida had taken up fine art painting, wood carving, jewellery making, drawing and any other creative endeavour that caught her fancy. As a mother-in-law she was great, and, she and I (her son...in...law) were not above arguing and laughing with one another.
And so, I went into the studio and painted/drew a 4" x 6" image of her sitting in the chair she had set up in the family room. That chair became her "place" as the years went on and she had about her her brushes, pencils, paintings, books, etc that she used to work on her art. Therefore, like the artists of ago, I painted/drew her with those artifacts about her. The Sennelier oil pastels were quite the challenge with the size of the image but I worked it through. In come cases, I sharpened the oil pastel.
I drew the image onto a grey illustration board and, this time, I immediately applied the oil pastel. Now, for the portrait, I painted the eyes, nose and mouth first and then added the the facial colours. Then I painted all the other areas in relationship to her face and hands. Later, I adjusted all the value parts and even the face. I also did not want her face to come screaming out at you but to be a part of her world ("place"). On looking at the finished work on an easel I noted that her hair had taken on a halo look -hhhmmm.