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 "
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!!