Todd – The Sum and the Parts

Got to sneak in a few extra hours of studio time yesterday. I’m almost done with the painting of Nelson and Theo, so it was awfully tempting to try to polish that one off but this painting of Todd was starting at me with so much potential that I really wanted to get the first real layer of paint on it.

Todd (in progress)
Todd (in progress)

I’m pretty pleased with how it’s coming along, considering this is the first real layer of detail and it’s only going to get better from here. I’ve been doing about four – five passes on a finished portrait lately so to have this one looking this nice so early on is really encouraging.

I was going back through some of my old posts from my early days at the Academy and came across an bit of instruction that I received from Harvey Citron who said my work was specific enough. What he meant by that was that I was focusing on making each line of the contour beautiful but in doing so I was losing the uniqueness and individuality of each line that added up to a beautiful whole.

I was thinking about that advice a lot when I was working on this layer of paint. I fear that I had fallen into that trap in some of my earlier paintings. It seems like a tautology that if the constituent components are individually beautiful the sum of the work will be beautiful but you also have to be faithful to the original and remember that this particular image chose you because it has some intrinsic worth or merit on its own.

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