Thursday, June 11, 2009

Flower Girl and thanks, Akiko!

Wedding Reception, detail, 24 x 30 o/c


In the mid 90's, I attended a friend's wedding on the Island of Malta. The setting was spectacular. The ceremony was in a lovely church in the historic city of Mdina, and the reception was held in a converted palace complete with courtyard and formal gardens. Twelve years later, I uncovered the photos I'd taken, skipped over all of the landscape and architecture shots, and as an experiment, began a pastel on canvas of the maid of honor and one of the flower girls. Pastel on canvas was not a happy experiment. I scrubbed it, came over it with acrylic, then water-miscible oils. ack. Peeled off the maid of honor's head, re-gessoed and built up the paint again. Then painted over everything with regular oils. Someday I'll be brave enough to try the architecture.  


Thank you to Akiko Watanabe, who kindly sent me the Noblesse Oblige Award. Akiko's animal paintings and ACEOs are breathtaking. I spend a lot of time scrutinizing her work, and still can't figure out how she gets so much loving detail and spirit into such a small format. Please visit her site to see her extraordinary portraits of animals. Thanks, Akiko--am humbled and honored. (award details in May 17 post).

76 comments:

Mi said...

Great, Liz! I thought it would be a photo! Good that you kept on.
Greetings, mi

Mona said...

Liz, it must have been worth all that fuss because it came out so beautifully. I love the soft underlight on her face, and the handling of the white dress is masterful.

dominique eichi said...

LIZ,
forget the architecture , this piece is so fabulous...
So glad you did this . It's beautiful

Arti said...

The painting doesn't look a bit like scrubbed or re-done as you have described..whatever you did, evrything underneath is buried and what we see is a glowing face and a divinly white dress...Lovely!

Jala Pfaff said...

Very sweet.
"Not a happy experiment"--hahaha.
Malta--that must've been cool. Never been there.

Manon Doyle said...

After all that work you've achieved an incredible painting! What an impressive piece!

FCP said...

Liz, this is a wonderful painting and a great study in reflected light, not to mention how well you handled white in light and shadow. LOVELY, and clearly worth all the effort. I hope the flower girl (who would be all grown up now) gets to see and appreciate it.
Faye

Cathyann said...

Ahhh. great story of trial and tribulation with the media, Liz...But oh, so worth it.Beautifully rendered young lady.
Malta is lovely. That is my heritage. Been there once when a teenager and may return again. Both parents came here after WW11.
This is just a wonderful image. I love the treatment of light everywhere but especially the softness it brings on the young face.

Joan Sicignano Artist said...

Wow! Liz it looks fresh, I would never have guessed so much work was done prior to completion. I love the lighting and softness of this sweet young lady's face. It's masterful!

Anthony Duce said...

Very beautiful and touching, much more enduring than the architecture.

Gary Heller said...

Beautiful work, Liz.

Cindi said...

wow.. wonderful.. she just glows!!

Joanna said...

This is so wonderful! Love the way you did for the little girl's white dress and her face. It makes me want to try portrait painting.

Dana Cooper Fine Art said...

Wow Liz, I am so excited to see this! It is truly a master class in painting shadowed skin tones, white fabric in light and shadow, and "sticktoitiveness"...wonderful!!
The bridesmaid sitting next to her adds to the narrative as well.

Kari Tirrell said...

It looks like all your hard work was worth it - this is fabulous, Liz!

laurens.paint.palette said...

You would never think, looking at this painting, that so much was done! It looks beautiful!

Ann Rogers said...

Liz, have missed your posts, thanks for sharing this with us. Whatever you went through to get to this point, it was all worth it...this is just lovely!

Celeste Bergin said...

It was kind of fun to read about the struggle. Does that makes me a little sinister--wanting an artist to tell the truth about the war we are engaged in? That is a beautiful painting..and just think, she is now a young woman. You immortalized her at this charming age--the age where they are just a little "full of beans". You won the war that you waged to get all that!

Avocaken said...

W O W ! You ROCK, Liz! I hope that I can paint almost nearly as well when I grow up. :-) I already wipe-off and scrub-off and scrape and etc. but my work doesn't turn out nearly as well. Thanks for sharing this with us.

Regards -
Ken B.

Carolina said...

Hi Liz!
This painting is so beautiful and delicate! You are an amazing artist!
Best regards,
Carolina

Paintings by Irit Bourla said...

Looks more like a photo to me.
It is so beautiful so perfect.
Your work is amazing!!!!
We want to see more.
I read about Karin's straggel and now yours. I must say it is so good to know that the pros are struggeling too.

Sheila said...

Wow! You know when you have a winner of a painting when I have to take several minutes to scroll down the list of comments to jot down mine. Wonderful, fresh, endearing portrait. You must be very proud of this painting. I can only wish to do as well one day. hugs!

Edward Burton said...

Very beautiful, Liz - wonderful cool shadows. Would LOVE to go to Malta some day.

Camille LaRue Olsen said...

Liz, I'm just speechless. This is incredible!!! Worth all the pain of the difficult beginning it went through. FanTASTic.

Peggy Montano & Paintings said...

All of the above.
Beautiful painting.

Marco Folchi said...

Gorgeous portrait, great overall light Liz, are you related with Joaquín Sorolla, the famous painter?!
Best, Marco.

L.Holm said...

Thank you, Mi!

Mona, thanks. I appreciate your comments. High praise from you.

Thanks, Dominique and Arti. hugs.

Hi, Jala- Malta is a beautiful island with a rich history and super people. You'd love it. (and the light!)
Thanks for laughing :-)

Thanks Manon and Faye. I should send a jpeg to the "bride" who's now in the UK.

Thanks, Cathyann. Wonderful heritage to have!

Joan, that's a good thing. I appreciate your comments.

Thanks, Anthony, good point about the architecture!

Gary and Cindi - thank you. I appreciate your visit!

Joanna - you should definitely try portraiture.

Dana - you're the best. Thank you!

Thanks Irit - I guess struggle is part of the process at times.

(((Sheila))) thanks :-)

Thank you, Edward. You definitely should if you get the chance. Extraordinary light and lots of history.

Thanks, Camille. speechless. you?? lol. ;-) You're sweet.

Thank you, Peggy.

Marco! Goodness. Thanks for the comparison. That motivates me to try harder!

L.Holm said...

oooops. Comment slippage....

Thanks so much Kari and Lauren.

Ann - sorry I haven't been making the rounds and posting as much as I'd like lately.

Celeste! You have such a great way with words. Sinister?? you. nope. I think we painters like to hear about what goes into a piece. I know I do.

Ken! Thanks for visiting. You're so funny. And thanks for your generous comments.

Thanks, Carolina. Always good to hear from you.

Rinkly Rimes said...

From a photo and yet a painting has so much more warmth. Lovely.

artbyakiko said...

Wow! I didn't realize that this image was actually a painting, not photo. It's absolutely stunning!
Liz, thanks for your kind remarks on m work. I really appreciate it.

Gary Keimig said...

This came out absolutely beautiful. My hat off to you. It would seem daring using that pink of the person sitting next to your subject. A distraction but it somehow lends itself to the painting.
great job.

Gwen Bell said...

Love this, Liz! The glow of her skin, the lighting, the highlights in her dress...all are perfect. Laughed out loud at your "peeling off the maid of honor's head" and your tell of woe in creating this, although no one would ever know because it turned out so gorgeous. Too funny!

Liana Yarckin said...

oh, i can feel the warmth of the sun on me! if i could only capture sunlight the way you have in this painting! it is gorgeous!!!

rob ijbema said...

doesn't look like a struggle from where i'm sitting liz,
ab-so-lu-te-ly gorgious!
drenched with light

Diana Marshall said...

beautiful painting, one would never guess the struggles that went into this, simply stunning!

Caio Fernandes said...

I CAN'T BELIEVE . when i saw this painting the first thing that pasSed on my mind was : this is the prettiest thing i have ever seen .WELL ... if it isn't , it is among then.
it has been a long time i dont visit your blog , since then you have posted lots of beautiful things . i apreciate so much the way you paint... i forgot to be a follower , but now i am not going to forget to come here any more.
CIAU Liz .

http://www.onpainting.wordpress.com said...

All that work/suffering paid off with a fabulous painting.

Rob Hazzard said...

Liz,
Every time I visit your blog I feel less worthy. Would you mind posting a clunker? Your work is fantastic!

Joanne said...

Liz,
I agree with everything that has been said and more! I want to say that I LOVE the colors you have used. The blue you chose for the bench is just outstanding, especially against the bright and fresh greens. The pinks of the dress next to the flower girl are so rich and deep, and help to create the glow in the little girl's arms, socks and the pink in her cummerbund (Where did THAT word come from??? - my mom I think!) And then when you take the purple and place it between the blue and the pink, it just ties it all together. For me, this is a painting that would stop me in my tracks if I walked into a gallery and saw it hanging on the wall. And from me, that is about my highest compliment. :-)

Annie-Maree said...

She is a beautiful little girl Liz, I love the use of colour and light, especially on her dress. Paintings like this are priceless, they convey moments in time that we love to go back and relive.

Thankyou for visiting my blog pages again. I really appreciate your comments, and yes the portrait drawing at the nursing home is really rewarding , I look forwards to this each week.

Italian pink is much like yellow ochre, sort of, but more vibrant I guess. It is made by Art Spectrum. I do like it in some portraits , as it adds an outdoorsy sunny skintone . If that makes sence :)

Love your paintings!!!

Annie.

L.Holm said...

(((Thanks, Brenda)))

Akiko-thank YOU.

Thank you, Gary. I cropped in because I'm still not satisfied with the bridesmaid's head, so a bit of her pink dress is still showing. Glad to know it still balances.

Thanks for laughing, Gwen! It was very weird holding her peeled head in my hand, have to say!

Thanks, Liana for your kind comments.

Thanks, Rob! I appreciate you comments. Especially since you are a master of sunlight.

Diana- many thanks!

Goodness, thank you, Ciao. Thanks for following!

Hi, Bill - thanks for visiting! Appreciate it.

L.Holm said...

Rob H. - you are funny! Thank you.

Joanne-gosh, thank you. I really appreciate your looking so closely. I worked hard on all of those transitional areas you mentioned. Now my head's big.

Hi, Annie-Maree. Thanks for your kind comments. I love visiting your blog and seeing your portraits. Thanks for the info on Italian Pink.

Kerri Settle said...

You've got such a gift for capturing expressions. I love the way you handled the whole thing, from the girl's hair to the dress details to the little bit of flowers showing on the right side.

Fábio Cembranelli said...

Wonderful...Liz! I thought it was a photo, there are so many details.Absolutely stunning!

Rosemary said...

You have 44 comments on this painting already but I just have to add my applause! Breathtaking! I called my husband in to look and he thinks it's wonderful too! To quote Fabio, "It's stunning!"

Douglas Hoover said...

Liz, Wedding Reception has the feel of pastel painting. I think you did an excellent job!

Nancy and the fatties said...

Liz, this is stunning. The light is so warm and bright. I would love to see how you recreate the architecture. Maybe someday my hubby and I will visit the city of his namesake! ; )
sending many hug to you...

Angela Elledge said...

It has been said already and so much better than I could have said it, WELL DONE, Liz! Can I just tell you how much I just love that little swipe of light on the tip of her right shoe. I can hear her little patent leather shoes hitting the sidewalk as she swings her feet back and forth...perfect!

Tom Pohlman said...

Liz- The little girl swimming in all of those layers of fabric reminds me of a Sargent painting- not any ONE in particular- but in general. You have captured the wonderful essence of natural light bouncing off opaque areas and shining through other translucent layers. It really doesn't feel labored- quite the opposite :>)

CONRAD said...

Wow GREAT JOB beautiful!!

L.Holm said...

Kerri- thanks for your comments.
Hi, Fabio -I appreciate your visit
Thanks, Rosemary, and thanks to your husband. That's really nice!
Hi, Doug- I guess it never lost the essence of it's first generation.
Hi, Nancy -LOL. Definitely worth a visit. You'd get the royal treatment!
Hi, Angela - you've zeroed in on one of my favorite parts of the painting--as usual!
Tom!! Good to see you out and about. ;-D I was actually thinking of Sargent's Lady Agnew when I painted the sash. Thank you so much!
Thank you, Conrad!

NoNo said...

Fantastic! A lot of work but a great result.
saludos!

Thea said...

Absulutely love your work & blog. Always wonderfull to do art ,its so inspiring.

L.Holm said...

NoNo and Thea - thank you so much for visiting! I appreciate it.

Vern Schwarz said...

Liz, this painting is simply amazing. You really show your incredible skill as an artist with this piece. I can't believe all the redos, as it looks so fresh and effortless.

Karen Bruson said...

Liz, Beautiful painting. I love how the flower girl is playing with her dress. Gorgeous colors and light.

theresamillerwatercolors said...

Liz, thank you so much for taking your time and leaving me a message in my blog, I really appreciate your kind and comforting words. Yes, it's a very cruel disease and nobody should have to live with it - my thoughts are also with you and your mom while you all cope with the illness the best way one possibly can. Stay well.

BTW, I'm so glad you stopped by, which led me to this most wonderful art site - you are a fantastic artist, Liz. Looking forward to seeing more of your work in the coming future...

Hugs to you, Theresa

eLIZabeth Floyd said...

Hi Liz, I love the expression of the flower girl. I can remember moments in my childhood being dressed in finery and feeling shy and pretty at the same time, this painting detail brings backs all those memories and more :)

And you are a trooper, I usually cut and run it the painting is not going my way and try something else.

Have a good one, Liz

Barbara M. said...

Hi Liz,

I can't believe I didn't comment on this. It is so perfect. I love the colour, light, the expression on the girl's face, the whole painting.

It's just fabulous.

Take care,

Barbara

conniep said...

Thanks for coming to my blog which led me to yours! As everyone else has commented, this is just beautiful and and tells such a story. If I had reworked this so much it would have become a Jackson Pollack abstract by now ;-)

Best of luck with your mom, too. I'm going through a bit of a time with mine as well. Connie

Carol Schiff Studio said...

Liz, This is such a stunning painting, I will continue to comment about it on every site! The colors are incredible and of course, the drawing is perfect. There is something great about this one, which is evidenced by the 60+ postings! Bravo!

PainterLee said...

I keep coming back and gazing at this little girl and her dress. I don't know how you do it! What a gift!

Dar Presto said...

You sure do persevere. The light playing across the fabric and reflecting onto her face is captivating.

L.Holm said...

Thanks, Vern and Karen! hugs.

Theresa, thanks for visiting, and for your kindness.

Hi, Liz, nice to meet you! I have quite a stack of failed attempts. This one became an obsession to finish!

Thanks, Barbara! Always good to see you. :-)

Connie, thank you for visiting.

Thanks Lee and Dar. I appreciate it!

Ramesh Jhawar said...

Well,I'm late!So much have already been said.But better late than never!Its BEAUTIFUL!The flower girl,her dress,the colors and the treatment of light,amazing!

L.Holm said...

Ramesh! Welcome :-) Thank you and congratulations on your recent successful show!

Renee said...

Liz you are so incredible. Your paintings are amazing. You are a master.

Love Renee xooxox

Art with Liz said...

Adding my bit at the end - she's absolutely gorgeous and it was worth going through all that angst.

L.Holm said...

Thank you, Renee and Liz!

Marilyn M. King said...

Outstanding and well worth staying with it! Love it!!!!!

Dean Grey said...

This turned out wonderful, Liz!

Love the expression on the girl's face. Perfectly posed and yet very natural looking at the same time.

You did a wonderful job capturing light here. The white of her dress almost glows in spots. Love that!

A very soft, delicate, pretty, and strong executed painting!

-Dean

L.Holm said...

Thanks so much, Dean! :-)

L.Holm said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Paul said...

Jesus! It took me 2 days to scroll to the end of these comments ........... stop being so popular, at once ;-)
Love the light and airiness in this one and it's a great composition, everything just works so well.
I am so hopeless at this aren't I !!!!!
Cheers .......... Paul

José said...

Hi,

The perspective is awsome, namely the impression of distance into the farthest background and the shortened one on the child.

Kind regards,

José

L.Holm said...

You're funny, Paul!

Thanks, Jose. I appreciate you're looking so closely.