Daub du Jour

My name is Marianne Plumridge. I am an artist of mythic fantasy works and fine art images. More of which can be seen at my website, 'MariannePlumridge.com', and also my main Blog, 'Muse du Jour'. These sites are in the links section of this page. This site began life as a painting a day blog in 2007. However that project has now passed, but I still find myself painting in that way. So this site will now be the showcase my new paintings as inspired by those previous efforts.

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Location: New England, United States

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Otherworldly Portraiture

"Elfin Jen"
 (16 x 20", Oils on Linen)  Price: TBA



We made some lifestyle changes last year, selling the family house that had served as our studio for nearly nine years and purchasing a second condo/apartment near ours to compensate. We pushed our personal effects across the corridor to the lovely new living space and used our old beloved condo as our new studio. It needs a LOT of renovation, so getting paint smeared and a bit battered won't be a problem. My husband uses our old bedroom, with its cathedral ceiling and exquisite northern light as his new painting loft, while I have my own relatively spacious painting space just below, on the first level. There is still that northern light to play with, places to put all of my art stuff, computer, three easels (floor, table, and mini), table, storage, files....and a wall for my reference library. We will still be converting space and finding places for things for the next six months or so, but meanwhile, I have had to paint like the wind. By the time all of the real estate shell game was done and the big shows and holidays were upon us, I found that I had not painted since January of 2017... AND, I had two major shows pending: my Artist Guest of Honor stint at Boskone in Boston this month which requires a LOT of art to show; closely followed by my first major gallery show, shared with my husband, Bob Eggleton at Dryden Galleries in Providence beginning 24 March 2018. Sounds wonderful, doesn't it? The panic is this: I have only two current pieces of art, THE MODERN ATHENA and VICTORIANA, available to show. Everything else of note that's been painted in recent years has found an owner and loving homes. It took me two weeks to carve out space from the melee and make my space to paint in, in December. Then I started to panic about what to paint and how to start cold from not having painted in so long. I am slow to start, but once I get going, can power along with familiar subjects. Portraits require time, careful application, love, and finding 'the zone'... Space paintings just require inspiration and enthusiasm, Space Rover requires a few ideas and me and Rover and a few other tin toy robots in a photoshoot (even the blurry photos are considered usable), and lastly, the fine art robot epics require equal inspiration and diligence as a portrait does. Currently, I'm going with the space paintings and Rover romps because I am not usually at a loss for ideas for them and I can paint them fairly quickly. That being said, I decided to christen my new space in December by beginning what I thought might be an easy portrait to paint.

Around Halloween, my friend and fellow artist Jen Waldon posted a few 'selfies' of herself in full blown elf ears and make up, with the declaration that she '...didn't want to look just pretty, but wanted to look otherworldly...". I looked at her photos and landed on the reference used for this one and mentally said... "I could do that". My comment on her Facebook post was 'Challenge accepted'. Might have inadvertently been a little more difficult than I expected, but I persevered.

Here is a shot of my easel when I drew up the canvas. No presketching this time, and the linen stretched canvas had been tinted with colour from a few years previously for another project that never eventuated. I used white chalk pencil to draw in the initial lines. After that, it was all go on the painting. Unfortunately I didn't take any more process shots of it, and changed my mind on background and colours a few times, trying to settle into the painting zone. It was a challenge. 




This photo shows one of my space magazines out for inspiration for the initial go at a background I was contemplating. The first paint in ended up being all nebulous purples and pales, and me not sure where I was going with it. The second iteration was tending towards a full 'otherworldly' space background which I was increasingly reluctant to paint. ME, reluctant to paint floofy 'space'. Never thought I'd think that. As it was, the last space reference I had out for the second iteration was various pictures of my beloved Orion Nebula. And as I was painting that in, Jen's face and hair began to sink into it. I instinctively knew it was wrong for this portrait. Sigh. This was in December. At that time, I was being distracted by holiday things and I needed to think about it a bit more. Just after Christmas, I decided that I needed to return to my original portrait practices of the face being the foremost, unchallenged element of the painting. And I concluded that 'otherworldly' didn't have to mean an otherworldly placement or space background. Jen's face said it all, with the two point key lighting aspects and her make up and strength of gaze. Took me awhile to figure out, and I hope in time that she will. There is a fine tensile strength in her regal gaze. Seeing this in some of my subjects and bringing out qualities for others to see in a positive light is one of the reasons I have tentatively returned to portraiture. So long as I can choose my subjects, I am good with it. Forcing me to paint what I don't want to paint is disastrous. Probably why I don't take commissions per se. As you can see, I settled on a dark green, almost black in parts, nebulous 'foresty' background, happily noodled with big brushes and a floofy blending brush. Jen's face and hair 'pop' right out and I am very happy with the result. I considered creating a 'crown' of sorts to top her hair with, which explains the space above her head. However, after many tries a designing such, I thought it would end up as overkill. My design eye felt it needed 'something', though. So, I created a braid behind her upswept long bangs and added a flower/leaf silver white clasp to it to catch the back light and sparkle. Simple, clean...otherworldly, even. Thank you, Jen, for being my muse today...

You can see more about Jen's work at  https://www.artstation.com/works_of_jenius

Thanks for stopping by. I have much more art to post here in the next week or so. So, come on back and have a look.
Cheers,

Marianne

 

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