Sunday, December 2, 2012

Some Like it Hot

Here is a recently finished commissioned painting. My model channels Marilyn Monroe. She is a huge fan so that's where we looked for inspiration when choosing poses.
Some Like it Hot, 30x30, oil on panel
This was a fun piece to design, with all the triangles, diagonals and interesting negative space.
Nataliya was an inspiring model. She is originally from Ukraine. When asked about why she related to Marilyn Monroe. She told me: "She was a surviver, I'm too. She has to fight for her life, me too. She was betrayed in love, me too. Always on the public, always play role, always feel lonely. She has some magic."
Painting a model wearing red lipstick is difficult since you want lips to look natural. Luckily, with The Incognito Project I've had plenty of practice painting people wearing make-up.
I like the way this arm pit came out, ya don't get to say that very often, huh?
I had fun with the hair, painting the brush strokes in the direction of the hair, along the length of the strands and painting it loosely to give the painting movement.
I painted brush strokes across the form to create the illusion of volume and mass in the figure. Those french manicured nails were tricky since I had to make them read right without having them just jump off the canvas. I was expecting the fur to be difficult but it turns out- just use the nastiest, most worn-out brush and it does half the work for you. 

The main focus of this part of the painting was to have the legs recede in space. To help create the illusion, I made the edges SUPER soft and cooled the color down and made it slightly darker to push it back and away from us.
The polka dots were a challenge to say the least, since I wanted to have soft edges.  I painted the slip first with a burnt umber rub out, pulling out the dots. Let it dry. Then glazed a transparent black mixture on top, painting in each white dot as I went in varying shades of white and gray so I could soften the edges of each dot. Let it dry.  Then I added another layer of black glaze where the form turns around the body to create the feeling that the slip was slightly transparent.

This is an awesome kind of commission to do. One where you get to know someone really cool, and they are willing to do something out of the ordinary portrait box.


  1. beautiful work as usual. I love the close up shots and explanations of your techniques. Thanks so much for sharing.

  2. Thanks and thank you for being a reader Maria!



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