February was spent retouching an old painting I'd done for my first ever exhibition 12 years ago!
The piece is called 'All Or Nothing At All' which is based on a title of a Frank Sinatra song and it was chosen by the model who posed for me to represent how she felt about herself in that point in her life.
Claire with her portrait at the private view of Gentleman Prefer Blondes
After recently commissioning a new painting from me, Claire decided to also buy her old portrait. However I really wasn't happy selling her something I knew I could paint ten times better now than how it had turned out 12 years ago.
I've never gone back and worked on my old paintings before and I have to say the experience was really satisfying and something I'd like to do more of. It's made me realise that work doesn't have a use by date and can be revamped into... anything! However for this particular piece I just wanted to rework the head which for some reason I had originally painted with dark heavy outlines and don't even get me started on the mouth! (why did I paint in weird teeth that shouldn't even be there?)
Before and after
I'm much happier with it now, and it definitely looks more like the polaroid photo I'd used the first time round. Thank goodness I keep everything! I was able to go back and work directly from the photo and blow it up to see the details better.
My main effort was in softening the lines of the face and reshaping the features. I also worked to make the skin tone slightly richer and make her hair a bit more believable.
I retouched the background too to brighten and tidy it up. I could have continued but this was a retouch not a commission for a new painting, so I had to rein myself in. Still, I'm pretty happy with the result and now I've gotten over the metal boundary which prevented me from looking at old work as a prospect for new work I think this has been a good exercise for me.