24" x 30", Oil on canvas
Work in oil on Maggie's portrait was started in November of 2002. The preliminary drawing was given the OK in the fall of 2001.
The canvas was prepared by stretching heavy canvas on 1/2" birch plywood. Then several layers of gesso was applied with a palette knife and when dry, scraped with a razor blade till the surface was smooth.
Tom took over 150 photos of Maggie. One roll of film was shot at each of the 6 photographing visits during the spring & summer of 2002.
The drawing was done in pencil. When painting starts, that section of pencil is removed with alcohol. The painting is done wet on wet. Sections are painted while the paint is wet until it starts to congeal. Then work stops.
In February he started on the outfit. He dressed up a wire mannequin and worked from life. The fabric was changed to improve the composition and the top was painted.
March was used to completely redraw the background to keep the elements in the background and the figure in the foreground. The playhouse is at Maggie's grandfather's home.
In April he painted the hands and dogwood blossom. Tom was able to paint from direct from several blossoms. In May he finished the lower part of the outfit.
In June he worked on the shoe. Finally in July, Tom started in earnest on the background. He started by bringing into the studio a piece of the cactus. Accidentally, Tom was fairly covered with minute cactus hair with barbs all over his hand face and mouth. The background was to be dark and to achieve this Tom used a limited palette of cerulean blue, sienna & ocher. He expects a August 1st delivery.
It does not take this long to paint such a portrait. If he worked on it, avoiding all else, it may have been done in three of four months. The time drawn out adds a great reward for the painting for, in time, things are revealed that would have not been adjusted properly. Tom feels that time is the one secret weapon the artist has. Once the work is finished and several years old, no one considers the time taken, they see it as a complete work and assume the artist is perfectly satisfied with the finished work. Time allows satisfaction.
Tom has a 3 year-old daughter and a home to take care of. His wife works and together they slowly get things out of the studio. Tom's next painting will be a portrait of his wife and daughter.
Other Children's Portraits