there is something not quite right about the nose." Well, for the past month and a half I have been wrestling
with getting noses, teeth, rocks, folds, flesh, etc, to look like there is nothing wrong with the way in which
I have depicted them, in a commissioned portrait.
Back in the middle of the summer, I took the "Bolt" bus to New York City, to discuss the working procedure
and other aspects of creating a double-portrait of my subjects.
As usual on long bus rides, I passed the time secretly sketching my dozing fellow passengers.
Although the interior of their home would have been fun to include as a background for the portrait,
they chose instead to be painted out in their quiet garden, where they spend most of their time
during the spring and summer. This was a "test shot;" one of many I took on my first visit.
The following week I took many many more photos of them, and the details in their garden, to refer to
once I returned to my studio to do an initial but rough sketch, in the same size as the final portrait, for their
before transferring the drawing to the canvas. In this detail, you can see the "code" I came up with, to guarantee getting the darks (B) and the halftones (H) where they actually were, in the rock wall.
then sprayed the drawing with a "workable" fixative. (whew!)
getting all the values and colors right, so they will function as a FOIL, for the main stars of this pictorial
event, my clients, who I leave to the very end.
Taaa-taaaaaa! After about 3 weeks of painting, I am satisfied with the final portrait, and I feel I captured
the likeness of my clients, and their environment. The BIG question, of course, is whether they will agree?
...John Singer Sargent.