Charcoal Pencil on
Arches Cover White (523-617)
Size: W.16" X H."
Date: August 16, 2010
I suppose John Singer Sargent would have suggested a more simple blouse to draw and paint. I will admit to being challenged by the detail in this paisley or madras pattern. Let me tell you a secret. I did it three times before I was satisfied with the features of both mother and daughter.
On the first drawing the background of their beautiful patio with elegant flowers and masonry along with the blouse and Bella's dress distracted from the portraits, so I did it a second time but came away from the investment disappointed in the overall tonality. Both Livia and Bella looked too harsh and cold.
So, here we have it. After more than fifty hours of paintakingly rendering every detail, I have something that both the artist and clients should be pleased with.
Let me give portrait artists a little advice here. I customarily charge considerably more for a two person portrait and I think that you should know why. It isn't all that difficult to satisfactorily catch the visage and personality on one person but doing two people is not double the difficulty of the one. You almost have to multiply the degree of difficulty by four. The reason for this is simple enough. It is a tough job to land on both feet in a two portrait painting. You will most likely miss it on one or the other. You also have to please more than two people in respect to what you've done with them. The artist must flatter without exaggeration or losing the person altogether. There is nothing simple about this, I promise. The chances of completely pleasing both models is near impossible.