Portraits of Irene

Portraits in the manner of William Adolphe Bouguereau, French, 1825-1905

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State of the painting on April 7, 2020. Taking forever to finish. Now it's on to Irene's makeup and to apply the lace. The lace will be rolled on using a rubber roller with lace glued to it. Once rolled in white paint it will apply a careful delicate lace pattern over the camisole. The hair was done and the arms were adjusted to reflect the muscles below the surface. Also Tom's left hand was finsihed and made darker. Using the castor oil medium the surface is still slightly wet since Tom was not able to finish this lastest pass at the painting. Mayeb he will have to wait til the paint drys even futher. Looking forward to finshing even it means sleeping for a week waiting for the muses to arrive.

Oil painting of the Bible's story of the Salomon and the Rose of Sharon by Tom Lohre.

Rose of Sharon, 4' x 3', oil on canvas, November 1, 2017, Portraits

Timeline:

Painting lace without trying to be tacky is tough. I think I have it but wish I could jump off and see the old masters at our local museums. Chances are I would find out they had just as much trouble. My mentor attacked the situation with heavy paint on a fan brush.
Painting lace above flesh for the last several days. It is the hardest part of a portrait. The next is the face. The face comes through by it's self. The lace has hidden the flesh under it. Without painting completely the transitions is not to paint. So then constant selected, loaded, and strokes of color achieves something. CM Posting

Days on end without picking up a brush. Many other distractions made it into a classic artist block. Now back carefully finishing edges and filling in the left hand of Solomon. Though the face, hair and see through lace is still to be done the painting is in its final troughs and will be done before you know it. Started in 1980 with one girlfriend and then another now with Tom's wife.

The fingers of Solomon next.
There is little difference between applying paint and leaving it there.

Working on the ear and redoing the Poser image (the digital manikin to see the shadows) slowly laying in the face, a little everyday and soon it is over. The ear has the personality. Irene's is straightforward (Up and down vertically, if it was slanted back it would show she thinks out of the box) large to hear everything said (small ears like Queen Elizabeth's means she acts alone) Helen's is small, Irene always asks if her hair is poking out. I say poking out is sexy remembering Princess Graces hair. The Renoir bathers hair is pulled up into a loose bun but here Irene's hair will be naturally her own.
Finishing the bust and arms
Filling in the face and cleaning up the edges.

Laying in transparent surface of canvas color and flesh color using the old combinations of Umber, Ochre, Red Cadium and Alizarin, never allowing the canvas not to be seen,
Started laying in flesh through camisole,
Laying in and repairing the form with castor paint is not like painting with regular oil paint, the painting application is different on almost every level, no fluidity, replaced with complete control working period of fifteen days and then after that can be removed easily, castor oil is alive and moves across the surface after it is applied. Painting the camisole is an exercise in painting silk or shiny linen, it is more fun to have the striking highlights using the accidental manner of applying paint and then making what you can of the strokes to keep the fabric alive, Shadows must be transparent thinly veiled transparent dark color with the color of the canvas in this case light tan, the old masters worked this point to a point
Projected Solomon's hand and confirmed Sharon's composition, her right arm obscures Solomon from seeing her. After researching reclining figures with their hands behind the head the subtle nature of expression will carry such a posture.
Laying in and repairing the form with castor paint is not like painting with regular oil paint, the color is different on almost every level, no fluiditly, repalced with complete control working period of fifteen days and then after that can be removed easily,

Painting the camisole is an excerize in painting silk or shinny linen, it is more fun to have the striking highlights using the accidental manner of applying paint and then making what you can of the strokes to keep the fabric alive, Shadows must be transparent tinely veiled transparent dark color with the color of the canvas in this case light tan, Gun Violence

Projected Solomon's hand and confirmed Sharon's composition, her right arm obscures Solomon from seeing her. After researching reclining figures with their hands behind the head the subtle nature of expression will carry such a posture.
Worked on finalizing Sharon
Projected the Poser and made adjustments in the drawing. WIll redraw the composition using Bridgman's Book. The angle of the breasts with the arms needs to be verfied.
Making a mountain out of a mole hill, suggesting form from accidents in the initial application, stopping when form reaches its maximum without a struggle, suggesting without telling, using the subtle nature of darkness when approaching light and light when approaching darkness in the edges. Once laying in then change what cannot be an leave what could be. applied for Golden Ticket, worked on advance Poser final composition for projection
Laying in linen,
Laying in the linen, using the complicated nature of castor oil and powdered pigment scrapping with a rubber spatula brush creating a veiled transparent colored film allowing the laying in to determine the shape instead of the image of the prop.

Rose of Sharon, 4' x 3', oil on canvas, Portraits

Started in 1980 with a then girlfriend, then another and finally being completed with his wife.
The name "rose of Sharon" first appears in English in 1611 in the King James Version of the Bible. In the song of Solomon ch2 v1 the speaker (the beloved) says "I am the rose of Sharon, the lily of the valley". I am the rose of Sharon, and the lily of the valleys. As the lily among thorns, so is my love among the daughters. As the apple tree among the trees of the wood, so is my beloved among the sons. I sat down under his shadow with great delight, and his fruit was sweet to my taste. He brought me to the banqueting house, and his banner over me was love. Stay me with flagons, comfort me with apples: for I am sick of love. His left hand is under my head, and his right hand doth embrace me. I charge you, O ye daughters of Jerusalem, by the roes, and by the hinds of the field, that ye stir not up, nor awake my love, till he please. The voice of my beloved! behold, he cometh leaping upon the mountains, skipping upon the hills. My beloved is like a roe or a young hart: behold, he standeth behind our wall, he looketh forth at the windows, shewing himself through the lattice. My beloved spake, and said unto me, Rise up, my love, my fair one, and come away. For, lo, the winter is past, the rain is over and gone; The flowers appear on the earth; the time of the singing of birds is come, and the voice of the turtle is heard in our land; The fig tree putteth forth her green figs, and the vines with the tender grape give a good smell. Arise, my love, my fair one, and come away. O my dove, that art in the clefts of the rock, in the secret places of the stairs, let me see thy countenance, let me hear thy voice; for sweet is thy voice, and thy countenance is comely. Take us the foxes, the little foxes, that spoil the vines: for our vines have tender grapes. My beloved is mine, and I am his: he feedeth among the lilies. Until the day break, and the shadows flee away, turn, my beloved, and be thou like a roe or a young hart upon the mountains of Bether



Mother and daughter portrait by Tom Lohre

Mother Daughter VIII, Almost final state, 24" x 30", Tuesday, March 23, 2021, Portraits, Figure, Traditional

Finally finishing this albatross. Started in 2014, just did not have the strength to finish it. It's like the plumber who always has leaky pipes at home.

PDF About The Painting

Text from the PDF about the painting.

The image that started the painting. In keeping with the formal method, photos were collected since the subjects were older now.

Helen was about four. Though blurry it satisfied what was needed.

This image was taken of Irene when the project got started.

The sketch was made for the size of the canvas, 24” x 30”. Fitting in all the elements was the focus.

Every painting gets composed in Poser, an electronic mannequin program. You can clearly see the figures composed in this image are duplicated in the painting.

Images were taken to continue the arrangement of light.

Color sketches were started.

No stone was left unturned to get started.

Painting was started in earnest using the new medium of powdered pigment mixed with castor oil. The paint took about a month before it started to set up and dry.

Mother Daughter VIII, Second state, 24" x 30", Tuesday, November 25, 2014
Things ground to a halt because of the complicated steps to finish the work. It was not unlike the plumber who always has leaky pipes at home. A commission, even a small one, drives the incentive to finish.

Wednesday February 17, 2021 work started anew. After two miniature portraits the full size seems like a walk in the park though the work is dry. Using black castor oil in the hopes just by trying all the castor oils there might be one that works, meaning to hold the pigment on the surface, dry very slowly, 25 days or more, not slide, though some minglingly is important to keep blending by itself but still holding an edge on a single fine hair brush stroke. The toughest part is not having transparent colors while painting over with a lighter color, avoided like the plague. Removing some of the old paint with a solvent revealing the scraped gessoed smooth as a baby's bottom, gessoing over the surface would not be necessary. Irene’s face is dead on but Helen's left eye needs to be moved. Seven years it took to get back to finishing such a portrait. In the old days you would have a commission and getting even a few dollars was motivation for spending hours working on the transparent surface. On Tuesday, November 25, 2014 Tom just could not go on to finish it. Getting back to the work, the edges need to be addressed. Close observation shows that all the tricks of the form making trade need to be used even in the light and shadow form takes place by the lightening or darkening of the area of color.

Bouguereau would laugh at my attempts. Demanding I start all over and do it right in just as much time. No manner of adjusting the dried paint can come within 50% of acceptable. But still Tom goes on to finish. A nice 8 year hiatus from formal portrait painting. Not really, Tom almost finished Solomon & The Rose of Sharon.

Rose of Sharon, 4' x 3', oil on canvas,
November 1, 2017
Irene went on a Treasa road trip and Tom put this back on the easel.

In 2011 the reclining figure was gessoed out and the bed linen was painted, retouching the Calla Lilies, removing the drum and chalice.

Taking forever to finish. Now it's on to Irene's makeup and to apply the lace. The lace will be rolled on using a rubber roller with lace glued to it. Once rolled in white paint it will apply a careful delicate lace pattern over the camisole.

Now slowly the reworking goes on. Every aspect hashed over until it just passes muster of what fine oil painting is about. Mostly that means making everything random and effortless looking. Never making a brush stroke without all the meaning it can have. As you refine the almost haphazard looking strokes into a face it becomes more likable but it should have been likable at the get go though many times it is not.

In a reworked painting, dealing with old paint is the worst. Painting over something to make it right is often a nightmare.

This painting left large areas filled in unfinished and now all the unfinished parts have to be addressed with new paint and edges. A most difficult thing to do when you rely on a “a la prima transparent method”.

February 27, 2021
Work progresses slowly. Irene has started commenting on the progress. Helen is at college but did chime in today with an “Okay. That’s my hair cut back then.” It’s a little long here, which is good and the verigation of the hair is excellent since it looks combed but is ruffled enough to make it a great image to work from. Referring back to Bougereau constantly makes for evening out the flesh color. Making only the form shaping simple but now abandoning the personality of the model. If it looks good in an image taken of the work in progress, it may be on the way to being finished. Never is the form abandoned when fine details of everything are formed with transparent castor oil with powdered pigment against a polished coating of gesso. Removing the paint is an easy manner of whipping the surface with a color ball touched with a stripper. Then following up with a whip of castor oil to stop the removal. The old paint becomes liquid again in a most strange manner. Maybe a way to reconstitute the dried castor oil and powdered pigment will become apparent soon.

A long time ago someone mentioned a passage in Siddhartha by Herman Hesse. It was about a master artist painting with slow deliberate strokes where everything was perfect. This is the stroke to be achieved. As I work through the hair of Helen, all I’m looking for is a master transparent stroke that holds as much reality as possible. The fun thing is that the stroke has a tremendous possibility of meaning everything and nothing at the same time when the mind fills in the blank like believability in the movies.
A slow stroke with a loaded large sable with the right color in the right place slowly moving creating a final area all at once.

March 3, 2021, Irene’s birthday
Work continues with the background finished using normal oil paint with ½ Damar varnish and ½” stand oil with 1% oil of cloves and Helen’s hair and face with castor oil and powdered pigment which is staying fluid. Next to finish the clothing with the normal medium while continuing the bigger mission. Still have to deal with the imperfections of Irene’s face. May just have to leave it be.

Saturday, March 6, 2021
Have not worked on painting for two days waiting for the courage to recolor Helens face by taking just the right color and stippleing it into the existing color to make the right color. In this case, violet to take the orange out.

Did remove the face in the mirror and even it out the outline.

Friday, March 12, 2021
Carefully correcting Helen. Looking forward to moving to the mirror. Still wet and perfect.

When you look at the eye above in his painting of the porridge girl you can see it’s finished to the nth degree. In the old days I used to paint with a medium that dried in about 15 days. THis new medium has a funny quality about it that does not sit well with a high degree of finish. It’s close but not close enough. The paint tends to coagulate not allowing to create fine detail.

Studying Bouguereau. He applied this same meticulous procedure to create paintings. He used sketches and plaster casts. He even used paintings to guide his brush. Looking at a painting reveals how to develop form. An image is not good at revealing how to create form.

Figuring out how Bouguereau painted is still a mystery. In this colorized image you can see his brushes were not exceptional. Most were bristle. His medium is a mystery to me. I think he did have various mediums to address the drying time.

Posted on FB
https://www.facebook.com/groups/2443047245955667/?ref=share

Trained under this painting. Need to go visit it and take some more images. It's the fluid transparency that gets me. Does anyone have a Bouguereau "How to" Facebook page?

Are you on Instagram? I Have been posting 60 second videos of the painting on the easel. A work started in 2014! I just did not have the strength to finish it. It's a lot like the plumber who cannot fix his own leaky pipes. Portrait painting is the Mount Everest of painting and when it's to look like someone, the mountain is even higher. But it's on the chopping block and will be done to the best of my ability.

210319
Work continues with severe lack of motivation. Live streaming is making it tolerable. The paint on Helen's face is still wet.

Having trouble with oil wiped on dry areas. Not going to do that again.

210321
Work is nearing completion on the faces. Now on to touching up the dresses. Using regular oil paints mixed with straight Damar varnish to make the paint to stick to the dried paint. The strange nature of castor oil mixed with powdered pigment creates a slick surface when thoroughly dried.

Finally finishing this albatross. Started in 2014, just did not have the strength to finish it. It's like the plumber who always has leaky pipes at home.

 



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