View Full Version : WIP Homage to George Frederic Watts, Choosing

A Few Pigments
04-06-2005, 12:38 AM
I started working on this on 03/31/05. I fell in love with this painting the first time I saw it decades ago. I canít believe Iím painting it. Iím really lucky to be an artist.

I originally wanted to paint this because itís beautiful and I love it, but I started doing research on it and was surprised at what I found. The painting is of Ellen Terry, Watts wife at the time it was painted. The fact that she was married to him is not the surprising part. The surprising part is she became the most famous and important actress in her day after they divorced. Below is a great deal about Ellen and George.

1864, George Frederic Watts, Choosing. Oil on canvas, 50x40cm, 19.69 x 15.75 inches

Homage to George Frederic Watts, Choosing. Oil, 16 x 20 inch canvas panel. Only about 1/3 or ľ done so far.

Latest update.

This is the only other painting I know of that Watts did of Ellen Terry.
1864, Ophelia, oil on canvas, approximately 25 x 30 inches. Watts Gallery, London.

This picture of Ophelia peering through the willow branches at the stream below was not exhibited until 1881 when Watts mounted a one-man show. The model was Ellen Terry, the teenage actress Watts had married in 1864. Watts, then in his forties, did several pictures of his young bride, the most famous of which was Choosing; both paintings were done within the first year of their marriage, after which they separated.

Ellen Terry went on to a distinguished career on the stage. She actually played Ophelia in 1878 when Sir Henry Irving choose her to play opposite him when he mounted his highly acclaimed Hamlet at the Lyceum (see Christian 189-90).

Ellen Terry, the daughter of a provincial actor, and sister of Fred Terry http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/ACterryF.htm, was born in Coventry in 1848. Ellen never went to school and at the age of eight appeared as Mammilius in The Winter's Tale at the Prince's Theatre in London.

After a brief marriage to the painter, George Frederick Watts in 1864, Terry established herself as Britain's leading Shakespearean actress. In 1878 she formed a partnership with Henry Irving http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/ACirving.htm at the Lyceum, where he became actor-manager. Working closely with Irving she dominated English theatre for over twenty years.

In 1903 Terry went into theatre management and with her son helped to popularize the work of Henrik Ibsen and George Bernard Shaw. http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/Jshaw.htm Ellen Terry, who slowly sank into blindness and insanity, died in 1928.

Ellen Terrys Brother http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/ACterryF.htm
Fred Terry, the brother of Ellen Terry, http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/ACterry.htm was born in London http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/ITlondon.htm in 1863. He played in the companies of Henry Irving http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/ACirving.htm and Herbert Beerbohm Tree http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/ACtree.htm and established a reputation as a romantic actor in parts such as The Scarlet Pimpernel (1905). His wife, Julia Neilson, also appeared on the stage. Fred Terry died in 1933.

ELLEN TERRY http://www.lib.rochester.edu/camelot/terry.html

"Ellen Terry is the most beautiful name in the world; it rings like a chime through the last quarter of the nineteenth century," George Bernard Shaw wrote of the Dame when she was at the height of her career (Manvell, 329). This career did in fact span a lifetime; the child of actors, she was given her first professional role at the age of eight and performed throughout her life until her death in 1928. Her legacy was almost predetermined as she was the product of two actors who had already made a reputation for the name Terry. That legacy was passed on to her older sister Kate, and in fact it continued into the modern age after Terry's death through her nephew, the famed actor Sir John Gielgud. If the role of King Arthur extended past the curtain to represent Henry Irving's place in the hierarchy of English theater at the turn of the century, Ellen Terry was most certainly his Guinevere, the Queen of Britain's stage.
On the 27th of February 1848, in a small actor's lodging in Coventry, Ellen Terry was born. Ellen was the third child to be born to Ben and Sarah Terry of an eventual eleven, but one of Ellen's older siblings had already died in infancy so she was the second oldest behind her sister Kate (Terry, 6). Ben Terry had performed as a stock actor with Macready in Scotland and had already become an accomplished actor at the time Ellen was born. Likewise, Sarah had made a name for herself, so the young Terry spent all of her time traveling around with her parents as their careers directed them. Though professional actors, they did not have enough money to put either Ellen or her sister Kate through school (Manvell, 5); instead, their parents took to teaching them the trade of acting at a very early age because as Terry asserts in her own autobiography: "in those days theatrical folk did not imagine that their children could do anything but follow their parents' profession" (Terry, 3).

In 1856, Ellen received her first role at the age of eight playing Mamillius in Shakespeare's A Winter's Tale. Though a young child, Terry understood the importance of this role: "a real Shakespeare part--a possession that father taught me to respect with the utmost dignity!" (Terry, 13). The actor-manager who gave her the part was a man by the name of Charles Keans, who had already been employing Ellen's father for a few years and had cast Kate in numerous roles as well. Keans worked hand in hand with his wife on all of his projects and was in fact the bigger influence on Terry's early career. As a young actress, she was always taught the value of a clear speaking voice and was trained rather rigorously by her father who was himself a master of elocution. Terry reflects on the home training that both she and her sister received from their parents:

Kate and I had been trained almost from our birth for
the stage, and particularly in the important branch of clear
articulation. . . . They were both very fond of us and saw
our faults with the eyes of love, though they were unsparing
in their corrections." (Terry, 12)

The discipline that the actress learned though also came from a rigorous rehearsal schedule that the Keans required of all who worked in their theater. During her work in A Winter's Tale, Terry describes the work environment as follows:
"Rehearsals lasted all day, Sundays included, and when
there was no play running at night, until four or five the
next morning." (Terry, 13)

After opening on April 28, 1856, Terry performed her role of Mamillius every night without use of an understudy, for one hundred and two nights. The Times review of her performance stated that she was "vivacious and precocious, a worthy relative of her sister Kate" (Terry, 15). While a youngster working for Keans, she undertook quite a few more roles including tackling the character of Puck from Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream. She recalls a funny moment during one performance when she scampered out of a trap door in the stage to deliver the closing lines of the play and got her toe stuck when the stagehand closed the door. She began to wail, but was motivated by both her sister (who was the understudy for Titania that evening) and Mrs. Keans (who offered to double her salary should she finish the performance) to complete the speech through her sobs (Terry, 17). Her dedication and perseverance as an actress were apparent at an early age, and as Ellen Terry grew and matured into one of Britain's leading ladies, her success was inevitable.

In her book Terry describes how during that very performance in which Ellen caught her toe in the stage, apparently "a young man with dark hair and a white face rushed forward from the crowd and said: 'Never mind, darling. Don't cry! One day you will be queen of the stage'" (Terry, 73). The story says that the man was actually Henry Irving though Terry herself said that she did not believe she met him until 1867 when she played Katherine opposite his Petruchio in Garrick's Taming of the Shrew. Though she admits that neither of them thought much of the other during this first encounter, she recalls that, in retrospect, Irving's dedication to his art was very evident:

"His fierce and indomitable will showed itself in his
application to his work . . . . I learned from watching him that
to do work well, the artist must spend his life in incessant
labour, and deny himself everything for that purpose." (Terry, 74)
Nevertheless, Terry was disappointed with the state of her acting after this performance with Irving, and within a few months she decided to leave the theater for what would be a six-year hiatus, during which she chose to raise her family and concentrate on her homelife.

In 1876, Terry had made her way back to the London stage in a play called Olivia, which W. G. Wills (author of the unproduced version of King Arthur) had been commissioned to write for John Hare's Court Theatre. During the course of this production, Henry Irving became the owner of the Lyceum Theatre, and following her successful portrayal of Olivia, she received a letter from Irving himself inviting her to join his company. In November of 1878, she joined the company and started rehearsing for her role as Ophelia opposite Irving's Hamlet. Terry vividly recalls this first role she undertook at the Lyceum due to the amount of work and research that Irving required of her immediately after starting. She went to the insane asylum to study for her mad-scene but found that in fact all of the lunatics were, "too theatrical to teach [her] anything" (Terry, 154). This brought her to a conclusion about acting:
"It is no good observing life and bringing the result to the
stage without selection, without a definite idea. The idea
must come first, the realism afterwards" (Terry, 155).
In another episode, she was arguing with Irving about the costumes that she had chosen for her particular scenes. The controversy arose when she explained her intention to wear a black dress during the mad-scene. Though Irving only questioned her innocently that afternoon--"They generally wear white, don't they?"--the next afternoon, a horrified advisor of Irving's who had witnessed the discussion said to Ellen, "My God! Madam, there must be only one black figure in this play, and that's Hamlet!" (Terry, 157). Terry was embarrassed by her blunder, but Irving's patience led her to a conclusion that she held throughout her tenure at the Lyceum: "Although I knew more art and archaeology in dress than he did, he had a finer sense of what was right for the scene" (Terry, 157). Terry recalls that Irving constantly held his work and the work of everyone else in his company to a continually rising standard, so it is no wonder that by 1895 when King Arthur opened, the performances of Irving as Arthur and Terry as Guinevere were praised both in England and America.
It was well known by the early 1900's that a rather extensive correspondence taking place between Ellen Terry and George Bernard Shaw, but in 1895 when Shaw reviewed J. Comyns Carr's play, his admiration for Terry was still rather new. He begins his section on Terry's performance by saying:
"As to Miss Ellen Terry, it was the old story, born actress
of real women's parts condemned to figure as a mere
artist's model in costume plays which from the woman's
point of view, are foolish flatteries written by gentlemen
for gentlemen." (Shaw, 94)
His review continues to explain how Carr's limp and uninteresting prose is a "heartless waste of an exquisite talent" when performed by Terry. He describes her performance as bringing certain lines "to perfection, but often with a parting caress that brings it beyond that for an instant" (Shaw, 94). In Clement Scott's article about Terry, he describes the actress in terms of other characters in the Arthurian narrative not necessarily included in Carr's drama to show how her mature acting has embodied the female spirit of the Arthurian legends:
"We saw her play Queen Guinevere; but at this period she was 'Elaine the fair, Elaine the loveable, Elaine the lily maid of Astolot.' She was Vivien with her mad girlish uproars. She might have sat for Rapunzel in that earliest book of Morris' The Defense of Guinevere " (Scott, 18).
Other critics also applauded the emotion that Terry provided on stage. The reviewer for the Athenaeum, for example, wrote, "The scenes of love-making between Lancelot and Guinevere are sentimental and idyllic . . . they are rendered with admirable delicacy by Miss Terry, and Mr. Forbes Robertson" (Athenśum, 93). Though clearly not her most memorable role (as her portrayal of Guinevere is not even mentioned in her autobiography), Terry undertook the role of the Queen with the dedication that she always had for the theater and created a wonderful counterpart to Irving's Arthur.
After King Arthur, Terry continued to act with Irving for many years, and her daughter Edy soon became a regular actress as well (Edy actually served as a double for her mother during the prologue of King Arthur (Manvell, 304). Her talent took her far even as a more elderly actress, and Terry even ended up on the Silver Screen late in her career (Manvell, 321). Unfortunately, in 1928, Ellen Terry's life came to a close. She had a stroke, and on July 21 she was pronounced dead. Before she died, Ellen had made it clear that she wanted "no funeral gloom," so instead they brought her body back to London where it was to be cremated and left in the actors' church, St. Pauls' in Covent Garden (Manvell, 329). In his biography of Terry, Roger Manvell writes that people lined the sixty miles of road to London, leaving bouquets of flowers for Britain's Queen of the Stage. England and the world had lost a star of the theater, but her impact on the profession and the performances she gave to the public will forever be remembered.

--David Howland


"Drama: This Week." The Athenśum. 19 January 1895: 93. Goodman, Jennifer R. "The Last of Avalon: Henry Irving's King Arthur of 1895." Harvard Library Bulletin. 32.3 (Summer 1984): 239-255.

Manvell, Roger. Ellen Terry . New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons, 1968.

Scott, Clement. Ellen Terry . New York: Frederick A. Stokes Company, 1900.

Shaw, George Bernard. "King Arthur." The Saturday Review. 19 January 1895: 93-94.

Terry, Ellen. The Story of My Life. London: Hutchinson & Co., 1908.

Terry, (Alice) Ellen http://search.eb.com/shakespeare/micro/587/77.html
(b. Feb. 27, 1847, Coventry, Warwickshire, Eng.--d. July 21, 1928, Small Hythe, Kent), English actress who became one of the most popular stage performers in both Great Britain and North America. For 24 years (1878-1902) she worked as the leading lady of Sir Henry Irving in one of the most famous partnerships in the theatre. In the 1890s she began her famous "paper courtship" with George Bernard Shaw, one of the most brilliant correspondences in the history of English letter writing.
Terry was the second surviving daughter in a large family of which several members were to become well known on the stage. She had no formal schooling, but, trained by her parents, she rapidly developed into a celebrated child actress. At the age of nine she made her debut in the child's part of Mamillius in The Winter's Tale, which Charles Kean, son of the actor Edmund Kean, produced in London in April 1856. She remained in Kean's company until 1859 and later joined the stock company performing at the Theatre Royal, Bristol, where she played leading parts in Shakespeare and in repertory theatre.

In 1864, at the age of 16, she left the stage to marry the painter G.F. Watts, whose model she had been. Watts, a neurotic man almost three times her age, made many fine portraits and sketches of her, but the marriage survived a bare 10 months. In her despair, Terry could scarcely be induced to return to the stage but eventually did so, though playing with little of her former distinction. It was in 1867 that she first appeared, by chance, with Sir Henry Irving, playing Katherina in The Taming of the Shrew.

The following year she left the stage abruptly to live for six years in Hertfordshire with the architect and theatrical designer Edward Godwin (1833-86), whom she had met in Bristol and who became the father of her children, Edith and Edward Gordon Craig (1872-1966). Edward was to become a renowned actor, stage designer, and producer. When her association with Godwin began to fail, it was the author, dramatist, and producer Charles Reade who found her and brought her back to the stage. In the role of Portia she showed new maturity in a striking production of The Merchant of Venice (1875), designed by Godwin. On parting from Godwin (who married in 1876), she became responsible for rearing their children. Before joining Irving at the Lyceum Theatre in 1878, she completed a successful season at the Court Theatre. In 1877 she received a divorce from Watts and married an actor, Charles Kelly, mainly to give her children a "name." They soon separated, and Kelly died in 1885.

When Terry joined Irving, she was 31 and he 40. It was the beginning of a close association with a man whose life and resources were to be dedicated to the theatre and who was to make the Lyceum a centre for new, striking interpretations--of Shakespeare in particular. His approach to sponsorship of new plays was that of a great stage visualizer and star actor who required a scenarist to assemble a script that would give him a framework for compelling performance and spectacular stage effects. As part of his mise-en-scŤne, he needed a beautiful woman to lend her own glamour to his productions. Terry responded to his needs with selfless dedication, playing many great Shakespearean parts--Portia (1879), Juliet and Beatrice (1882), Lady Macbeth (1888), Queen Katharine (1892), Imogen (1896), Volumnia (1901), Ophelia (1878), Desdemona (1881), and Cordelia (1892). She also willingly undertook such humble roles as Rosamund in Tennyson's Becket (1893).

Whether in London or on arduous provincial tours, in New York City or on exhausting excursions across North America, Terry acted as Irving's leading lady until she had grown too old for most of the parts in his repertory. They severed their partnership in 1902, three years before his death. Their relationship was as close in private as in public life, but when his affection began to wane in the 1890s Terry entered into her famous correspondence with Bernard Shaw. In 1907 she married the American actor James Carew, some 30 years her junior; although they soon parted, he remained her friend.

It was in comedy and in plays of tender sentiment, as well as in Shakespeare, that Terry's talent shone. When she left Irving it was to appear with Sir Herbert Beerbohm Tree in The Merry Wives of Windsor (1902), and Shaw eventually persuaded her to appear as Lady Cecily Waynflete in Captain Brassbound's Conversion (1906), one of several parts he wrote with her in mind. When she celebrated her golden jubilee in 1906 at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, all the theatrical personalities of the day shared the stage with her.

Shaw saw Terry as a shining example of a modern, intelligent actress, capable of both naturalistic and intellectual performance. During the 1890s he constantly urged her to leave Irving, whom he regarded as reactionary, and to dedicate herself to promoting modern drama, represented in the works of Ibsen and himself. But unlike Sarah Siddons, her 18th-century predecessor as undisputed queen of the English theatre for a whole generation, Terry was ill suited by temperament to become a theatrical leader in her own right. Her particular, instinctual genius flowered only through her long service with Irving.

Although Irving had paid her 200 a working week for most of 20 years, she still had to earn a living in her later years. She worked in the theatre, last appearing on stage in 1925; in films; and as a Shakespearean lecturer-recitalist, reinterpreting her successes on tours in the United States, Great Britain, and Australia. Her warm, generous personality made her a favourite wherever she went, but eyesight and memory began to fail. Belatedly, in 1925, she was made a Dame Grand Cross of the British Empire. She died three years later at her cottage, Small Hythe, in Kent, which became the Ellen Terry Memorial Museum and in 1939 was given to the National Trust by her daughter, Edith Craig.

Terry's correspondence with Shaw is collected in Ellen Terry and Bernard Shaw (1931, reissued 1949), ed. by Christopher St. John (pseud. for Christabel Marshall). Biographies include Edward Gordon Craig, Ellen Terry and Her Secret Self (1931), by her son; Marguerite Steen, A Pride of Terrys: A Family Saga (1962, reprinted 1978); Roger Manvell, Ellen Terry (1968); Constance Fecher, Bright Star: A Portrait of Ellen Terry (1970); Tom Prideaux, Love or Nothing: The Life and Times of Ellen Terry (1975, reprinted 1987); Nina Auerbach, Ellen Terry, Player in Her Time (1987); and Joy Melville, Ellen and Edy: A Biography of Ellen Terry and Her Daughter, Edith Craig, 1847-1947 (1987). John Stokes, Michael R. Booth, and Susan Bassnett, Bernhardt, Terry, Duse: The Actress in Her Time (1988), analyzes the work of Terry and two contemporary actresses.

Roger Manvell (d. 1987) was a biographer and film historian and University Professor of Film at Boston University. He was also Director of the British Film Academy (1947-59) and author of Ellen Terry (1931, reissued 1949).

04-06-2005, 01:55 AM
Wow Bruce....your painting is looking excellent.... :clap: ...and what a history of the lady herself.....so colourful!!!.....fantastic research and fascinating reading....
cheers kim

A Few Pigments
04-06-2005, 02:16 AM
Thank you Kim, but Iím a bit disappointed with it. I just canít figure out how to get the green and red as vibrant as Watts did. I havenít been able to find any information on the pigments he used, but I bet he used a chrome green and real vermilion. Iím using raw sienna and prussian blue for the green and Grumbacher red for the red. I guess there can be disadvantages to basing ones palette on the palette of the old masters.

04-06-2005, 02:27 AM
Wow Bruce! This is looking so amazing....
Interesting history of the lady herself.....
Following you on this super journey!
Bye for now.. :wave:

04-06-2005, 02:27 AM
Hi Bruce.... I'm not sure on the colours....I'm sure Mikey will know!...I tend to experiment and use different glazes.... :D
cheers kim

A Few Pigments
04-06-2005, 02:45 AM
Hi Kim, okay, I shall await the arrival of himself.

Thank you Lisa. Yes, the history is fascinating. I hope Ellen and George like what Iím doing.

Anita Murphy
04-06-2005, 07:45 AM
I love that you did such research!
I think the painting is going to be wonderful - you've made such a great start.

A Few Pigments
04-06-2005, 05:14 PM
Hi KA, thank you for your kind words. I'll be working on this again tonight.

04-07-2005, 02:47 PM

Well ... I like this almost as it is now ... being your interpretation of a famous painting ... :clap: :clap: :clap:

04-07-2005, 03:53 PM
Wow, you have chosen a beautiful model and you are painting her very well, Bruce. Good for you. So interesting and generous of you to post her story. I'll be following your progress with lots of excitement.

A Few Pigments
04-08-2005, 03:53 AM
Thank you Linda, Iím more excited about this painting then I was about The Storm. Iím glad youíll be watching.

Thank you Gilberte and itís good to see you. I just finished painting for the night and Iíll post an update sometime tomorrow. After I get everything blocked in Iím going to try some glazes to see if it improves the purity of the color. I still have a lot to do on this one.

A Few Pigments
04-09-2005, 12:20 AM
My progress so far. Any comments about flesh tones, blending or home decorating welcome.
Detail. Does this look any good so far?

04-09-2005, 03:00 AM
According to the rules I won't kudo too much but it's coming along nicely.
The yellowish tone around the eyes and cheeks ... too separated from her pink blush ? Perhaps ?

04-09-2005, 07:09 AM
Hi Bruce, it's looking good, but one thing I'll say is be much more concerned about the tonal values at this stage. You are putting the cart before the horse by thinking about the colours first. The old master always got the tonal values first. Red against a black will look far different to red against a mid tone. Use as little white as possible at this stage. You need to establish the structure of the head with tonal values and that will make your colours seem to be different.


A Few Pigments
04-09-2005, 08:55 PM
Hi Mikey, itís good to see you back online. Youíre right, Iím befuddled by all these greens, trying to get the colours right. I was thinking if I just got the canvas covered first with the local colours then I could focus on the values.

I still donít understand why some artists do a painting one section at a time. They get one section perfect then paint another section. Thereís still a lot missing from my art education.

Hi Gilberte, youíre right about the blush. It needs to be higher. Iíve painted this face 3 times now and Iím still not happy with it. I canít understand why Watts wanted her face yellow. I think it makes her look like she has a liver problem, but Iím sure he knew what he was doing.

04-09-2005, 09:55 PM
LOL Bruce....home decorating .....well...now that you have asked.......I think this would look excellent with a gold frame....on lighter wall.... :D :D I think Mikey is giving marvellous advice....and sometimes I think the more you experiment the more you know what works for you...Looking very very good Bruce......
cheers kim

04-10-2005, 08:42 AM
Hi Bruce,

I don't know how Wes is able to get away with it so well. Most of us can't. I see you prefer the lighter skin tones and why not. This is looking good.


Anita Murphy
04-10-2005, 09:10 AM
I think this is looking great. Wish mine was any where near as good. No advice on blending but home decorating is right up my alley - what do you want to know :D I'm much better with a roller and wall than with a brush and canvas! :D

A Few Pigments
04-12-2005, 05:59 AM
Hi KA, thank you for the compliment. It might be looking good now, but Iím sure Iíll ruin it somehowÖlol. I was kidding about the home decorating. Itís very difficult for me to take anything seriously. Think of me as the Victor Borge of art. I know I donítÖlol

Victor Borge Quotes: http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/v/victor_borge.html
Humor is something that thrives between man's aspirations and his limitations. There is more logic in humor than in anything else. Because, you see, humor is truth.
Victor Borge

If I have caused just one person to wipe away a tear of laughter, that's my reward.
Victor Borge

Laughter is the closest distance between two people.
Victor Borge

IMDB Datebase: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0096493/

Hi Mikey, Iím glad you think itís looking good, I must be doing something right.

Hi Kim, I think a gold frame would look good with all this green too, and yes Mikey always gives good advice. Iím lucky heís a mate.

Progress so far. I did gray scales of the original and my painting and decided to make the face darker and paint over the green on her neck and jaw. I know thatís all about reflected light from her green dress but I think I made her look sea sick. Does anyone think she looked better with the green?

Below is also a gray scale of the original painting and my pokey painting. C&C welcome.



04-12-2005, 06:08 AM
Fantastic Bruce! You know I like the face of your girl's better!!!..much prettier... :D
Thanks for posting the grey scales...You are doing amazingly with your values :)

04-12-2005, 06:27 AM
Hi Bruce....this is looking ... superb....the skin colours are excellent....I cannot find one thing out on it......pokey...LOL..... :D .... :clap:
cheers kim

A Few Pigments
04-12-2005, 06:43 AM
Thank you Kim, Iím just using naples yellow (W&N), burnt umber (Winton) Grumbacher red and T white (Winton) for the skin colours.

Thank you Lisa. I have to admit I did make the lips fuller and the face fuller. Just between you and me though donít tell anyone itís because I canít drawÖlol

Anita Murphy
04-12-2005, 08:17 AM
She's looking lovely! No you wont ruin it - I thought I ruined my portrait but slowly its coming back. What did I learn - take it slowly!!!!!!
I love Victor Borge - wasn't he just the funniest? I must get those videos out and watch them again!

04-12-2005, 08:39 AM
Yes indeed, you're doing great with the values.
Looking well all over !

04-12-2005, 10:04 AM
Hi Bruce, it's got lots of life now. Well done.


A Few Pigments
04-20-2005, 12:36 AM
Hi Mikey, I hope I can keep that life in it.

Hi Gilberte, I hope I can make them look even better.

Hi KA, Iím too old to take things slowlyÖlol

itís been a while since I posted an update here. Unfortunately Iím out of dates so hereís the painting.

I painted the face again, and Iíll have to paint it again. Iím finishing the dress before I finish the rest of the painting. I wouldnít want her to get a cold. Iíve added more raw sienna to the green of the dress to make it look different than the green of the leaves.
I donít expect to reproduce the values perfectlyÖwho am I kiddingÖya set your goals and ya go for themÖ

04-20-2005, 01:46 AM
Ahhh...I see Bruce...she's not so seasick anymore.... :D why are you painting the face again??...I think the skin looks like porcelain.....if I were you and this was my painting...... :D ....which unfortunately it isn't....I would wait til you paint the dress and hair before you make any changes to the face....that IMHO of course... :p
cheers kim

04-20-2005, 04:32 AM
Bruce....The face is great. Why paint over again... :eek: I agree with what Kim said... :wave:

A Few Pigments
04-20-2005, 04:33 AM
Hi Kim, in regards to the face and the whole painting really, Iím still trying to understand how close values have to be to each other for a painting to work as fine art. And I mean that from the standpoint of classical art from 1400 to 1700. Iím always surprised when I study old paintings how close the values are. In The Choosing her face and hands are darker then they are in my painting. So Iíll have to try to darken the face and hands in my painting.

I think Katelyn made a very good point in the still life with apples thread about using a glaze to unify the painting. But if I had gotten the values right then there would be no need for a glaze. So, I have to focus on getting the values right in this one. Anders Zorn is a good teacher for values and a limited palette. He worked miracles with just 4 to 5 colours in each painting.

In regards to painting the dress and hair before painting the face again I have a question for you. Iíve noticed some artists paint one part of a painting at a time and other artists work on the entire painting at the same time. Is there an advantage to one method over the other or is it just a matter of personal choice?

A Few Pigments
04-20-2005, 04:36 AM
Hi Lisa, good to see you. I just answered Kims question about the face so the answer is in that post so I wonít type it out again if thatís okay. Itís all about getting the values right really.

04-20-2005, 05:25 AM
Hi Bruce....mmmm...I can see what you're after with the range of values....I had a similar problem with my girl with the pearl earring last year...must have painted her face 3 times... :eek: ...I have to admire you for your diligence... :)
As for painting parts compared to painting as whole...I tend to paint and draw parts when using a reference photo...but draw the whole thing if drawing from life and then paint....by values.....I know I paint exactly the opposite to what I was taught at art school...... :D I always start with lights ..then darks...then middle values last.... :confused: I wonder if that's odd... :D however I'm always experimenting and I think whatever works for you is the right way...
cheers kim
ps anyway...your girl is looking really good....

A Few Pigments
04-20-2005, 02:56 PM
Hi Kim, thank you for your answers. If all of us always do only what weíre taught there would never be any progress. So, I donít think thereís anything strange about the order you do your values in.

After all, weíre supposed to use our imaginations, not sacrifice them on the altar of art school or the reputation of a famous artist. I admire Anders Zorn, but my goal should be to surpass what he achieved. It should never be to settle for being as good as he was. If Michelangelo hadnít been determined to surpass the Greeks, he could have just used a roller on that silly little ceiling he painted. We should never be intimidated by anyoneís achievements. They put their paints on one leg at a time just like everyone else.

04-20-2005, 07:15 PM
After all, weíre supposed to use our imaginations, not sacrifice them on the altar of art school or the reputation of a famous artist.

We should never be intimidated by anyoneís achievements. They put their paints on one leg at a time just like everyone else.

Hi Bruce.....great insights......I'm going to print your post up if you don't mind....helps me to keep a sense of humour...lol....can just see Michelangelo with a paint roller....WOW...he could have finished that ceiling in half the time... :D :D
cheers kim

Anita Murphy
04-22-2005, 08:00 AM
am with you on repainting, sometimes it has to be done, not that I can see why in this case. She is looking fab - and is definitely not "pokey". The shadow under her chin is just perfect and her face looks like it is coming out of the painting.
I came to the conclusion long ago that I do some of my best work with a roller - and a can of white paint!

A Few Pigments
04-23-2005, 07:41 PM
Hi KA,
I know the face isnít too bad for one at my skill level. I just want to get the values right. Iím working on a few other paintings, but Iíll post an update of Choosing in a few days.

04-25-2005, 07:39 AM
Art education? It doesn't just happen in college: an artist learns however whenever - a never ending journey of discovery and education.

You paint great: it's fabulous the way you are sharing your creative process.

You are a fine artist. :)

I taught myself how to draw then paint. I read books, attended half a dozen master classes with Brigid Marlin then did my own thing years later. We all get there on a different route.

Best wishes

Warwick :cat:

A Few Pigments
04-25-2005, 04:44 PM
Ta Keith for your comments and compliment. I think the only reason Iím so hard on myself is Iíve probably set my standers too high. I wonít think of myself as a ďfine artistĒ untill my work is in the Louvre. I suppose Iím bonkers for thinking that way, but thatís my goal.

A Few Pigments
04-26-2005, 08:17 PM
My progress so far. Iím finished with the left sleeve. I made the nostril shorter made her forehead a bit darker and added more blush to her cheek. Most of the foliage is finished. All my values are lighter then those in the original painting. No worries, itís just a painting. Still a long way to go. C&C welcome.

04-26-2005, 08:40 PM
Looking good...Bruce....you can really notice the development of detail....
cheers kim

04-27-2005, 04:47 AM
Yes, looking good indeed. Wish I'd painted it ... :D

Anita Murphy
04-27-2005, 08:42 AM
Looking totally amazing - you should be very pleased with this!

A Few Pigments
05-20-2005, 11:40 PM
Hi Anita, Gilberte and Kim. Thank you for your comments.

I finished the flowers, the leaves and stems and the dress. Iíve completely lost interest in this painting. Painting Lauren3 was so much fun I never lost interest in it. Now all I want to do is paint my own paintings. Iíll never find myself trying to work the way some one else does.


05-21-2005, 02:07 AM
I can imagine very well how you feel. It happens to me as well, not wanting to fnish a painting or loosing interest in it.
Keep going and sing your own voice :wave:

A Few Pigments
05-21-2005, 02:25 AM
Hi Gilberte, thanks for your in encouragement. Itís back to painting my own portraits then, in earth tones. :)

05-21-2005, 04:05 PM
The same happens to me often enough Bruce, especially when it been a long haul. I find the temptation to finish off quickly gets to me at times.

Fortunately I've been able to rework a few.


A Few Pigments
05-21-2005, 09:10 PM
I know what you mean Mikey. Iíve been thinking of reworking some of my paintings, starting with a nice fresh coat of white paintÖlol.

05-22-2005, 04:51 AM
Bruce, I've been thinking about it as well. No use hanging on the the past is there.


A Few Pigments
07-28-2005, 09:12 PM
Iíve been working on this off and on for almost four months now and I think itís finally finished. Unless it isnít. C&C welcome.




This is the original painting with my painting next to it.


Anita Murphy
07-29-2005, 06:10 AM
Bruce - I think this is really lovely. Great job!

Iíve been thinking of reworking some of my paintings, starting with a nice fresh coat of white paintÖlol.

I do this all the time!!!!!! I'm really good with white!

07-29-2005, 06:20 AM
Wonderful face (love the delicate colours and the touches of pink) and the detail in background is great.......the thumb looks a bit staright across the top...IMO......and I think the darks on both hands could be darker in the shadowed areas......other than that I think it's a beautiful work......Bruce... :)

07-29-2005, 07:14 AM
Hi Bruce, I hope you are proud of this one.

I got some good oil primer myself, going over old paintings.


A Few Pigments
07-29-2005, 03:21 PM
Mikey Iím not proud of this, but if I do one that Iím proud of Iíll tell everyone. It could be awhile. Ten, twenty years maybe.

Thank you Kim. The hand at the bottom is hard to paint. Iíll do some touch up on it. I think either the hands are to pink now and the face is too yellow, or the hands are too pink now and the face is too yellow. May be itís just me. I know Iíll never be happy until I do a painting that I feel is perfect in every way. I know the common wisdom is that perfection is an illusion, but art is all about creating illusions that are convincing. So, when you think about it, creating a painting that is perfection should be easyÖ.right? Dream on Bruce roflmao

Hi Anita, thank you for the compliment. I was really just taking the mick about a coat of white paint. I actually feel every bad painting can be saved. Itís just a question of perseverance and imagination.

07-30-2005, 12:07 AM
Hi Bruce......I think the the colouring on the face is spot on....I wouldn't change that...IMO......

07-31-2005, 02:35 AM
I like it

A Few Pigments
07-31-2005, 07:26 PM
Thank you very much Adam.

Hi Kim, okay, Iíll leave the face alone and do some more work on the hands.