"Queen and Her Court" - oil on masonite.  This is another work done while able to do little else because of the mystery ailment leaving me fairly incapacitated - another summer lost, if it weren't for some lasting good to have come out of it.  So I am glad I can paint, and I am very happy with this work. Even more amazing, so is my wife Cathy.  People are very sensitive about their own depiction.

This work started as a notion to perhaps finally include me in a painting, and the plan was for me to be in the chair and Cathy pretty much as she is.  The idea emulated a painting in the British royal collection.  I posed her for photos one afternoon and across the series of pictures there was this one pose of Bridget I loved and so I decided to go with that instead.  I had some good ones of Squirtle sort of laying down but eventually decided to change to the sitting pose for more personality.

The setting is our bedroom except I took some artistic license, to balance the composition better.  The hutch to the right is moved in, and blocks the view of a small window.  Cathy I moved to the right of center rather than dead center, and had to adjust her arm/hand on the chair.  I left out some of the clutter above and below her desk in the corner.

There were several difficult aspects of this painting. One is managing the high dynamic range (light to dark) of such a scene with a brightly lit window.  Another is the wide perspective.  I studied up on the rules of perspective as I laid out the tile grid and vanishing lines for the room and furniture, and found the photos did not hold to these rules.  The lines were straight, but the progression of spacing did not hold in this wide angle view.  Turns out it is an amazingly involved subject about 1000% beyond anything you have ever heard about.   

The last difficult area, as always, is the human form and likeness.  And the colors of skin.  Those simply just take a lot of attempts and re-dos, paint-overs.  Everything else in the painting is pretty much free -hand with a handful of scaled ruler measurements from the photo, but in the end to get Cathy's face just right I printed it 1:1 with the actual painting, so I could look at it and really get the relative positioning and sizes right. 

A key to the atmosphere of the painting is the carefully shaded background, rug, and hutch.  And then the window.  There's a lot of straight lines in that window.  I don't know how others do it but I had to use a ruler.  But the lighting and shading are also a key to the atmosphere.

 

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