Saturday, 13 December 2014

Nana's Portrait

When I asked my client what her Mother's name was, she looked surprised. She replied: "Her name is Phyllis but everyone calls her Nana."



Nana - oil on linen 16" x 20" © 2014 Carol Lee Beckx

This portrait was done from a tiny iPhone photo - she didn't want any other photos taken of her and when you are 91 then no-one argues with you - and in any case the portrait was to be a surprise.

However I was able to borrow the hat - Nana's Melbourne Cup hat. If you're Australian you will know about the race that stops a nation. Everyone, everywhere, frocks up and goes off to lunch. A hat or fascinator is obligatory.

Painting a portrait from a photograph can be really tricky but somehow the spirit of this remarkable lady came through and the painting evolved without too much of a struggle. The natural colour of the linen support avoided the usual "background" problems. It seemed logical to leave a lot of the linen unpainted so that the emphasis is on the portrait.

When I get to the finishing off stage of a painting I like to hang it in my living room for a while to assess what still needs to be done. Nana's portrait has been keeping me company for the last week - I'll miss her.