Tatiana and Olga 2010

Tatiana and Olga  2010

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

One year and counting

The Tsar and Alexis on the Dnieper River 1916

 Today is the one year anniversary of starting my current Romanov painting   It's of the Tsar and his son Alexis in 1916 standing on the shore on the Dnieper River. Above  is the photo it's based on

  It seems I'm getting slower as I  get more into  painting    lol

Isn't one supposed to get faster? More proficient?

It seems I start at square one with each painting.... each is a voyage of discovery 

But  as  Dr. Johnson once said "  Proficiency is the end of wonder "


If  6 months ago  I knew I was to write"  it's a year and I'm still painting"  , I wouldn't be too happy because I was  then still battling  the  painting  .

The  only answer is one just  keeps painting.

 I'm never bored as I'm problem solving  all the time. What seems simple once it is  figured out ,was  utterly  inscrutable before hand.

 Just today I saw something that I had missed for  last year...and once this detail was  applied , it fixed  a whole area.  Everything is interdependent and has to be right

 As I paint,  the piece  gets better...inch by inch, but better .

Right now the Tsar and Alexis  faces are amazing... that heartens one greatly . Because for a long time they were not. For months they were awful and I have the photos to prove it. lol

When  finally  the likenesses are better than you dared hoped they  would be ,  you know the accomplishment is achieved...now it's a matter of time to nail down the details

I'm working on the Tsar's  tunic, which by the photo one can see is complicated ...I knew that arm with the creases  would be tough, but not this tough.  It's been months.

It's well one doesn't know the difficulties before hand  ! lol  plus it's a fuzzy photo...which adds to the difficulty.  But it was the best one for what I wanted to get across.

When I started thinking about this painting  nearly two years ago, I thought it was going to be all about Alexis 

However once I started, it immediately became about the father and son relationship. About a perfect moment  just before the coming tragedies . 

On the river

 The hemophiliac  Alexis  is visiting his father, Tsar Nicholas II at  the Russian HQ during WW1

This time on the river in 1916, could easily be the happiest of young Alexi's life.  His health was fairly good and he was with his beloved father in the military atmosphere he adored. 

I really want this one to be shown finished and so have kept  process photos under wraps 

However here  is how it statred a year ago!

 Pretty straight forward right? How can this simple design  take over a year to paint ?

Well it's funny, when everything must fit together  correctly and a good likeness achieved , it's not as simply as it seems...and what is? 

The video is ready to go and I hope to post the finished painting soon! 

                                   Brontë  Novel Update

The Brontë novel roars on and I'm having the time of my life.

It's writing   Brontes  by day and painting Romanovs by night. 

I'm finding a great deal of Brontë history that has been "flown over"  so to speak  and I'm incorporating this history in the novel

At the moment  that means investigating  the Taylor family

Charlotte met Mary Taylor at Miss Wooler's school when they were young girls. They remained friends for life . Mary offered Charlotte Brontë a  mental companionship she found in few places  outside the parsonage in Haworth. 

Charlotte stayed at Mary's home, The Red House, and got to know the Taylor family very well. 
As the  only Tory among the Radical Taylor's , Charlotte  held her own . But as Mary said " We astonished each other with each sentence" 

Mary took off for New Zealand in the earlier 1840's to find a more fullfilling life than  Endland could offer a middle  class young woman at that time .

 However Charlotte  and she wrote  to each other  as if they were not separated by a hemisphere and Charlotte remained friends with the Taylor family still in England. Indeed over the years Mary's brother , Joe became particularly close

Though Charlotte and Joe  never would have  drawn together even as friends normally ( he use to drive her to distraction. )  Joe  became like an exasperating brother to Charlotte . She complained to her other great friend, Ellen Nussey about Joe, but Charlotte  cared greatly about him and the other Taylors

With the Brontës  old friends and time served is what counted. 

Charlotte became very found of Joe's little daughter, "Tim". 

Tim would call Charlotte "grandmama " Charlotte seemed to wear the name proudly .

Another on going investigation is the subject of  religion . This has proved a treasure trove. 
Being  in the Church of England by no means meant automatic  agreement among the faithful . There were different sects within the church  and feelings ran high , very high.

It is the greatest fun to keep the work  well within the actual  history of the Brontës and to create a  work of fiction within this framework. The Bronte fan should be able to see how  the  history is at every step. 

It means research and more research...but what fun when dots are connected?  !

Those who have read parts of my novel  have given it an astonished  thumbs up lol  

Like with the  Romanov paintings...I don't know enough to know what I'm trying to do is  impossible  and so I'm  just going ahead and doing it

                                   That's Zen  in a nut shell   


Of course after my painting of the Tsar and Alexis is finished, I will start  work on portraits of the three main people  in the novel:

Charlotte Brontë , her father, Rev Patrick Brontë 
and  Rev Arthur Bell Nicholls 

On my blog role you will find a link to the Brontë blog I hang out at  .
 It's called "  The Brontë Sisters " and is  run by a super nice Dutch watercolor  artist name Geri.

 Love for the  Brontës can be found there


Okay,  back to painting and writing!!