Naomi

2000. Oil on canvas, 22x16 inches.

This is a different Naomi from the blue painting. This Naomi was eleven years old when the picture was done but looks older in the picture. I think that is because she is sitting still and looking serene rather than being active, and also because I chose to sit at a slightly lower level than she did while I was painting her. The background is one of a selection of tie-dyed bedspreads that Naomi has.

The procedure we followed to decide which pose to use was to try different poses in front of various of the bedspreads, which Naomi hung over a bookcase. Then I took digital photographs, which had the advantage that we could view them immediately on the screen on the back of the camera. I also made some sketches in charcoal.

Naomi 2

I liked one photograph that was in profile against pale blue, which would have given a rather renaissance impression, but Naomi preferred the three-quarters view.

The three quarters view from her right side made her look very pretty but was less characterful, so we went for the left sided view that you see.

In a recent survey of old master portraits, the majority of portraits showed the left side of the sitter's face rather than the right. The preponderance of left sided portraits was less marked for male sitters than it was for females. This fits with the idea that the left side of the face shows a more inner, intimate part of us than the right, and implies that men are less likely to want to show that side of themselves in a portrait than women.

Click here or on the picture for a close-up, and more about the making of this painting.


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All images copyright 2000 Martin Dace