New Portrait, New Everything

Yesterday I watched a documentary about portrait painter Alice Neel, beautifully filmed by her grandson Andrew Neel. The moment I looked at the DVD cover, lent to me by my sister-in-law Jana, I felt a connection with her work: as if I’d done it, or I could do it, or I do it in my head all the time. It’s very hard to explain. Then, when I saw footage of Alice painting on the screen, my heart started pacing and I felt the excitement she felt. I have painted portraits before, but rarely from life and more rarely so with oils. I was immediately inspired, went out and bought a new set of everything, called up my muse and started this painting. As most of you would know, I paint almost exclusively with acrylics, which dry in an instant. I had to keep reminding myself that the paint was still wet: ‘it’s oil, it’s oil!’ So I worked for over an hour and then had to stop. I plan to start other portraits and work on them simultaneously. I feel like a beginner and in a way I am. I’m very excited.

8 Comments on “New Portrait, New Everything”

  1. oils do require a different approach to stopping and starting… you have to have a little conversation with the medium and yourself about timing. i love oils. i love the smell and the mediums and the velvety textures. i’m excited to see what effect they have on your process and work!

  2. Ok, now then, THIS adds a whole new dimension to your work! I’ve seen the Alice Neel film, and the way she lived, the way she viewed herself and her art and the contemporary society’s connection with her art and her subjects very much reminded me of you and your work in the way that you both (without pretence in both your cases I believe) defy convention. Can’t wait to see more.

  3. omg! ghada this looks great :) i wish i can use oil put unfortunately am painting in my room these days and i wont be able to sleep from the smell!! am sooo excited to see the final are inspiring me to paint :)

  4. Nice try ..! the nice thing about oil is that every day u get a different look for it, it gives u a chance to feel it.. nice work Ghada, as always :)

  5. Ghada….what do you think I will tell you….you took my breath away…I rembered when I mentioned oil to u and u were not excited about it….Im soooo excited..the portrait is amazing.

    Ar you ready to experience oil drawing with me? missed your class…

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