Tatiana and Olga 2010

Tatiana and Olga  2010

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Mapping out a Grand Duchess

I'm working away on my current Romanov painting. It's based on a 1917 photograph of Anastasia Nikolaevna taken in the park of the family's palace after the Revolution.

It's the first photo from captivity I have added to my collection of paintings and the first one to contain a large amount of landscape.

Like seemingly all Romanov photos, it has plenty of things I haven't noticed before even though I have known it for many years. For one thing, Anastasia's skirt is caught tight on the sharp edges of the tree stump. This makes for all the lines in the skirt and headaches for me. I'm working on this area right now.

It's fascinating how she makes this tree stump seem a throne. Anastasia is known for her endless pranks and joking, but my, she looks royal here.

Another revelation was how many lace elements are in her blouse. It seems simple at first. However Romanov blouses can be complicated! Another tip about painting historical photos is get all the diffrent copies you can. I have found low resolution ones as helpful, if not more, than the high res ones . All have something to add in the detective work needed.

A visitor to my Romanov gallery recently asked me why the Romanovs. I explained as best I could and they said, " I see, you are interested in portraying human dignity." I was amazed because I had not thought of it in this way, but they were exactly right. How the family handled thier ever worsening captivity is a powerful motivator in my work .

I thought readers might like to see how I map out a photo in order to paint it. I get photo copies and then study the photograph on the computer. I then make notes to use while painting. This is very helpful with a old photo as only close study can reveal the subtle shadings in a black and white photo. One can then bring them out in color in the painting.

Imp's blouse mapped out


My friend , painter Beth Randall, and I have a motto :

"Keep Painting" !



  1. Thanks for the mention! And now — back to work!

  2. Thanks for the comment !

    And now — back to work!

    another great motto!

  3. Next time I see you, let's link your blog to my blog! I'd love to get some of your traffic!

  4. ....just as it is! I tried to add links , but still haven't found the link function. It's not under "design" when I look!

  5. Okay, I found the link button...it was way down the list!