Tag Archives: portraiture

Portraiture…the “extreme sport” of art!

On a number of occasions over these past few months, at various times, it has struck me the high degree of challenge there is in portraiture, particularly in aiming to capture the likeness of an individual.  Surely portraiture is the “extreme sport” of art because of that challenge. 

A few examples which have set me thinking…  Driving in traffic up from the Spit Bridge towards Mosman, I happened to briefly glimpse to the right of me, and in the time it took me to glance back to my daughter I commented that the person in the car that had just past us looked like a friend of ours.  All I had seen was the briefest glimpse of a silhouette, I didn’t recognise the car, and sure enough my daughter confirmed that they were subsequently waving to us.  Likewise waiting with a friend at Canberra airport recently to meet another friend for a reunion, as we sat in the lounge watching the passengers disembark we happened to notice “someone’s arm pulling on a jacket” and in that one gesture we knew it was our friend.  

Then today…visiting a couple of artist friends (Rhonda Meryl-White and Masako Gordon), amongst many topics covered over lunch we were then looking at some images on the computer when a close up of one eye only was shown on the screen, I immediately identified the model.   Our power of recognition from even the smallest amount of information amazes me.  It’s actually quite daunting if you think about it too much however I also find it quite fascinating and part of the thrill of portraiture in getting that likeness.

New Year…new look!

A new look to my website for the New Year and to reflect what is clearly now my focus on portraiture and figurative artworks.  Already the ideas are flowing and projects are underway.  Very exciting! 

A big thanks to my wonderful web designer, Kathrin Longhurst, for working her magic.   Having received my request for a new look, Kathrin was quickly on the job, applying her knowledge of web design along with her artistic background and, with a few of my images, transformed what previously looked more like the realm of a landscape artist into that of a portraitist. 

Thanks Kathrin!  Great support and great response time. 

If you’re looking for a web-designer, then see more of Kathrin’s creations at this link .

Happy New Year!…”Celebration”

Dear Friends and Friends of my work

"Celebration", oil on board, 60cm x 90cm
“Celebration”, oil on board, 60cm x 90cm

Happy New Year and all the best for 2012!   May you enjoy a year of celebration and to start it off, I have chosen to share with you a very special painting which I have just completed titled “Celebration”.   (Well almost completed, I can see a couple of small adjustments I need to make.)

Over the last few months I have been working on what has turned out to be a major project being a portrait painting for my Mother for her 80th birthday on the 19th of January.  It began as a portrait of both her and my Dad celebrating her 79th birthday, however encouraged by my mentor, Nafisa, this was extended to include portraits of the family in the background.  My personal challenge of painting two portraits in one painting was extended to eight!  (I am the one on the right in the portrait of the four children).

While the painting has been challenging on a number of levels as an artist and as a daughter (with Dad’s health declining dramatically in the year), overall it has been an absolute joy to paint especially knowing the joy that it will bring to my mother.  Countless hours have gone into it’s creation from a full scale tonal drawing to begin with, before even beginning painting, to whole days of painting.   Dad’s shirt took a day in itself, mastering or endeavouring to get the sculpting, the tones and the check print.  It would have been a lot easier if it was a plain shirt, and as an artist it would have been easy to just paint it plain however Dad has always worn check shirts and this is one our family all knows. 

The gift to Mum feels more like a gift to me because somewhere in the process of its creation it has affirmed my love for portraiture, for painting from a space of joy and love and my desire to be able to paint portraits for others who will also treasure them. 

For me “Celebration” is not just about celebrating Mum’s 80th birthday, but about celebrating the union between Mum and Dad for the 59 or so years they have been together, through sickness and health (the way Mum’s hand is resting on Dad’s arm), it’s about celebrating family and life and recording it for all time.   Surrounded by roses from her garden and with Mum’s signature sponge cake in front of them (and which I recalled while painting that I had helped decorate), this painting captures so much of our family history. 

It has been a celebration for me to be able to create this painting for Mum and I am grateful for the teachers who have helped me to develop as an artist over the years, and particularly in these last two with Nafisa focussing on my portraiture skills.

If you look closely, behind Dad’s head in the painting is the corner of a small portrait with just the forehead showing of  our daughter, Nyomi.  I wanted to have atleast one of the grandchildren included in the painting to indicate the generations, even though it was suggested at one stage that perhaps I could leave that small painting out of the picture.  It wasn’t until much further along in the painting that I realised how important it was Nyomi was included because one day she will actually inherit this painting and it will be her’s to pass on in our family. 

Some years ago now before I had actually taken lessons in portraiture, I did a portrait of Nyomi holding a chook on my parent’s farm and in the background of this painting is just the arm of her grandfather, my Dad, wearing one of the cardigans he has always worn.  Again someone suggested I leave Dad’s arm out of the picture and yet I am so glad I didn’t because it has captured three generations in the painting…Nyomi, her grandfather at her side and myself by way of having painted it.  Part of the power and the significance of the painting would have been lost without Dad’s presence and likewise had Nyomi not been included in Mum’s painting.  The painting of Nyomi is in my portrait gallery and is called “Love”.  In fact, there is a lot of love in both these paintings.

So I hope you too can join in and enjoy “Celebration” and may 2012 be a year to celebrate your life, family, friendships, your passions and all that is important to you.

With best wishes for 2012,

Marion

 

Memories, Magpies and Make Believe…

Dear Friends and Friends of my work

We have just returned from a holiday touring the south coast of New South Wales and into Victoria along the Great Ocean Road.  For those of you who were unable to make it along to the 40×40 Exhibition at Artfocus Gallery, I thought I would send you a quick note with this photo of me taken at the gallery with my latest works. 

For followers of my work be ready for a surprise!  This latest series is in marked contrast to my previous works and yet brings together my landscape skills along with my figurative and portraiture skills I have been developing over the past 18 months or so.  They were a lot of fun to paint!

"Memories, Magpies and Make Believe" series at Artfocus Gallery

"Memories, Magpies and Make Believe" series at Artfocus Gallery

In this  series titled “Memories, Magpies and Make Believe”,  I have endeavoured to capture some of the joys of childhood.  While based on my own experiences (some real and some make believe!), I have tried to portray some universal themes of childhood.  From “The Tea Party”, to “On the Swing”, “The Carousel” and “Dress Ups” all painted in a vintage style.  To see these paintings in closer detail and there is a lot of detail to them, follow this link to my Figurative paintings.
 
The exhibition was a great success with over 300 visitors on the night and it is now going to travel to the Glen Street Theatre at Belrose.
 
Upcoming Exhibition:
If you are in Sydney and get a chance, I am also participating in a fundraising exhibition for research into Motor Neuron Disease which opens this Monday, 10 October at the Arthouse Hotel, 275 Pitt Street from 6.30 pm to 10 pm and will be on display until 11 November.   Fellow artists Chris Farkas and Jennifer Mattiussi have organised this exhibition in memory of their sister, Sue, who they lost to MND and so they have invited a large number of well known and emerging artists to lend their support and participate in “My Nearest and Dearest” Art Exhibition. 
 
And having returned from our break, it is time to gesso the boards and prepare for more paintings.  I am looking forward to continuing to develop my portrait skills with Nafisa and I have also lined up this month to attend a weekend workshop with another accomplished portrait artist, Evert Ploeg.
 
Until my next newsletter, I hope you enjoy “Memories, Magpies and Make Believe”.
 
Best wishes, Marion
 
 
 
 
 
 

A year in review…and a Christmas special!

Dear Friends and Friends of my work,

It has been just on a year now since the launch of my website and a wonderful year it has been for my journey as an artist.  From focussing mainly on landscape painting, this year I have taken a detour into new territory to develop my skills and have entered the challenging terrain of portraiture and the human form.  It’s been both exciting and humbling however I am fortunate to have been receiving invaluable guidance from my teacher, Nafisa Naomi.   (Nafisa won the Packers Prize at this year’s Archibald Exhibition). 

Throughout the year I have continued to exhibit at various art shows however my focus has been on development.   So I thought in this newsletter I would give you a glimpse of some of the work I have done throughout the year.  I hope you enjoy this selection of pieces. 

 

“Emerging” was my first finished pastel portrait and was selected to be hung in the 2010 Warringah Art Show.   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In addition to portraits, I have also had a play with painting abstracts and “Poppies” is my second in this field.

  

 

 

Despite these detours though, I still love the land so recently reconnected with landscape painting attending Warwick Fuller’s Plein Air painting weekend near Little Hartley on 23-24 October.  This is one of the paintings from that weekend.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

During the year I joined the Mosman Art Society and recently participated in their 9″x5″ Exhibition, which was a bit of fun especially painting on that small scale.  Both these paintings sold as part of that exhibition.

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To see more of my work throughout the year, have a browse of my website at www.marionjoylangford.com.au

With the lead up to Christmas you might like to splurge on a painting either for yourself or as a special gift and in the spirit of Christmas I am reducing my prices by 25%.  Visit my website and if you are interested in any pieces, either call me on 040 999 3090 or email me at marion@marionjoylangford.com.au.  Some items are not for sale, however if you are interested then just let me know. 

Once again, thank you for your support.  I wish you all a safe and happy Christmas and all the very best for the New Year!

Best wishes, Marion

A happy New Year…

New Year’s day began with painting and has each beautiful day since.  What better start to the New Year!  I have already completed another triptych in my “trunks” series and am on to my next project. 

I have been enjoying the healing power of painting and my latest “trunks” captures this all for me.  I had begun this project just prior to going into hospital in December and had prepared the canvasses with impasto.  On my return post-op they sat and looked at me, ghost gums, until I began to feel my strength returning and until one day I just knew that I needed to begin their painting and that in the process it would help my recovery.  So although feeling somewhat fragile and tender, I stood before this triptych and began to wash in some colours and as the turpsy mix dribbled and seeped its way into and down the canvas trunks, I could feel the blood running back into my veins.  Beautiful burnt sienna, permanent crimson, french ultramarine blue all of these transforming the ghost gums in front of my eyes and at the same time working their healing powers on me.  Away for the Christmas period, it was not until 1 January I was able to return to my trunks and to working into the colours, deepening their strength and richness, again enhancing on previous trunks in the series.  Pure joy!

The other delight on January 3 was to deliver a “surprise” portrait gift to my friend/lecturer/coach, Donna.  We met for breakfast at the Pavilion, Balmoral Beach, with her son and in this exquisite surrounding, I presented her with her gift.  I had said that I wanted to do so “face to face” unbeknown to her so I could see her face (when she saw hers!).  After the initial shock, she was then overwhelmed and I was able to share with her the story of “Donna”.  To my surprise and delight, Donna modestly said “it was better than real life” which was encouraging for me as my new portrait teacher had said that this was the first “rule” for portraiture.  And her son has given his stamp of approval…”Mum it really does look like you”.

With humility…

I am currently working on a portrait (actually two) and decided to take one along to class for some guidance.  Portraiture is a new skill I am looking to develop.  I already know that I love to paint them, even if they are challenging or perhaps it’s because they are.  For me it is like being with that person and exciting to see them emerge from the canvas.   So far I have been largely self taught in this area and I’m pleased I am actually achieving a reasonable likeness, yet I know there is much I can learn.

So I took my current project along to class and I couldn’t help but find the experience humbling.  Pleasantly so.  With humility is the opportunity for real learning to occur and I sensed the wonder, the open curiousity and joy of being a child again and learning something new.  In being vulnerable, in saying “I don’t know, I’m not sure what to do here” and being open to guidance, to then be able to absorb on so many levels so many new insights.  Choice of brush, use of medium, the type of strokes, to loosen up and, in this specific instance, how to capture and portray the fluidity of hair.   (It helps to have a wise teacher though, who nurtures and encourages that childlike curiousity, particularly for an adult to drop into that state).

With the exhibition recently launched and lots of build up to the event, then all the hype with the opening and enthusiasm for my work, I could see how easy it would be to get caught up in that and forget my roots.  Forget the foundations and the fundamentals that there is always still plenty to learn.  The ego in its glory could easily have got in the way of real progress.  And curiously in my openness to learn and willingness to lay down my brushes and be guided by an experienced teacher, another joined with humility to also learn.

So with my new knowledge, no better way to learn was to put it into actual experience so both portraits are now being worked on.  Each with their own unique challenges.   My next development goal: to improve my blending of skin tones.  And with humility and love, I know that it will happen.