Sunday, April 18, 2010

CIREE in progress

16x16" oil on canvas
In Progress

First of all I'd like to thank everyone who left a comment on Easter Sunday! Your words were indeed lovely and I'll treasure them always. I was so jacked from working on a portrait that I had to jump right into this piece. I really enjoy doing the dog portraits and have quite a backlog of donations lined up, but if I'm not careful, it can lapse into an assembly line. The challenge this month was right on time. And it led me to this.

This is Ciree from Survivor: Heroes vs Villains. There are some incredibly beautiful scenes on that show, so much so that we actually hit pause and take shots of some for future inspiration. Not sure of the legalities. Anyway, this was a shot of Ciree standing with her tribe right before a challenge. She looked downright regal, not to mention the gorgeous colors the sun was revealing on her incredible face. Working on Easter Sunday got me in touch with the rich tones inherent in dark skin and I was inspired to try more. Then I remembered the snap I took of Ciree.

Himself suggested an "in progress" series on this painting. He's not fooling me one bit. He's afraid I'll overwork and wants the early steps recorded for safe keeping. Brat!

I've been working with the wise words of Jeff Hein echoing in my head. There's nothing as fresh as the first strokes, leave them alone. Make them mean something the first time, don't scratch around and try to find the right one. I watch him confidently start with a blank canvas and feel his way around the models face with his brush, full with rich, creamy oil, just the right temperature, just the right value. Hold the brush at the tip, it frees up your strokes and your approach. Enjoy your work.

Imagine if I listened to that voice most of the time instead of the other one in my head?


  1. Not much to say except WOW! Beautiful warm skin tones and you captured her look. Stunning!!

  2. BEAUTIFUL!! I love the colors in the skin tones. It looks amazing!! I can't wait to see it finished :)

    Ah yes, that annoying voice in the head, tell me how to shut mine up will you? ;)

  3. Hope you don't get 2 of this. Lost the first one somewhere out there.

    Bravo on another really strong portrait. I watch the show and you have portrayed her determination perfectly! The green areas around her nose and lips are so great. I also like the way the background does not bump against her face in a clean way. Adds to her intensity. Oh, that resolved look in her eye! Also that cool bit of pink on her cheek and chin make the rusts look even better. I love it just like it is! I know the white details in the hat and shirt are probably guidelines but I even like the unfinished look of that. Can't wait to see what else you have in store for Ciree up your creative little sleeve!

  4. Regal indeed! She is beautiful and quite haughty looking yes? I don't watch Survivor so haven't a clue as to who she is, but her skin tones are gorgeous!! You have caught a most fabulous expression.

  5. Hi Suzanne,

    This is lovely, I don't think you have to worry about overworking. Your are an exceptional artist. I am on my way to visit your previous post. Have a wonderful day.


  6. Hi Suzanne,

    I couldn't find the comment spot on your Spring painting of the little boy. I love it, how wonderful, words as well as the brilliant portrait of the little fellow. Well done and thank you for sharing.


  7. A wonderful painting Suzanne; it's incredible how you're able to render skin tones and faces expressions.

  8. Can I say WOW? Only WOW?
    Okay well done cannot wait to see the final piece.
    I like it the way it is....

  9. Suzanne, these latests portraits of yours really rock!

  10. Suz, You see color so well and translate it so beautifully! Inspiring is what you are...


  11. Amazing! I agree with Gwen—I love it at this stage.

  12. Beautiful skin coloring. and wonderful composition, really shows a personality.

  13. Hi Suzanne, This piece stopped me in my tracks when i saw it posted over on the site.
    Love the multitude of colors and textures. Beautiful composition and powerful gaze. Your painting below "Spring" is also a showstopper!

  14. Hi Suzanne,

    This is fantastic. As soon as I saw it I thought, "I know this person! How could Suzanne and I know the same person?... How small is this world anyway?!" And then I realized it was Ciree, which you confirmed in your words. She is one of my all time favorite Survivors and boy did you get her bang on! Well done.


  15. Great work on capturing the colors in her skin. There are so many dimensions to it. Not having seen the original photograph, I don't see why this couldn't be the finished piece.

  16. Suzanne!

    I just love all the colors in her lips!

    The black in her hat and shirt make this painting look especially regal and dramatic.

    Love the white lines too. Did you add that yourself or was that how her clothing looked?


  17. Your command of catching an expression is enviable. Another really stunning portrait. I always look forward to seeing what you'll post next.

  18. Well I love this, however you're arriving at the result! It looks very fresh and confident and I can tell you had a lot of fun with those beautiful skin colors and the reflected rosy light on her beautiful features.

  19. My apologies for getting to thank everyone so late. I am so very grateful for all of these incredible comments, thank you all so very much!

    Linda, WOW back!! Thank you so very much for such a lovely comment.

    Crystal, thank you very much. Himself keeps terrorizing me to keep me away from the canvas!

    Gwen, Thank you! I'm so glad you pointed out the background not bumping up against her face. I was thinking of leaving it that way. Thank you so much for such incredible comments.

    AutumnLeaves, thank you so much, I really appreciate your words.

    Joan, thank you so much for both of your wonderful comments.

    fausto, thank you so much.

    Irit, WOW!! Thank you so much. Himself heartily agrees with you.

    Mona, thank you so much.

    Don, kind is what you are, thank you so much.

    Carol, thank you so much. If himself has his way, i guess i'm done.

    Becky Joy, thank you so very much!

    Alice, thank you so much. What incredibly generous comments.

    Nicki, thank you so much! Ciree is one of my favorites too. I'm so glad you like it, thanks.

    Kristen, thank you so much! Himself is counting up those that agree with him and is still trying to keep me away from touching it!

    王俊貴, thank you so much! I tried translation and loved what I think you meant.

    Victoria, thank you so very much!

    Dean, thank you so much. The painting is unfinished as yet, the black you see is the canvas and the white lines are my drawing reference. I'm undecided on finishing it. I'm so glad you like it.

    r garriott, you are too kind. thank you so very much.

    Diana, thank you so much! I must keep remembering what I learned from the Jeff Hein DVD, he always wakes me up. Many thanks!

  20. What a great post. The painting is simply amazing, with every stroke looking as fresh as if it were the first. Great expression. Interesting question about taking images off the TV. I find so much that I see there inspiring.

  21. Suzanne, you've done it. You've managed yet another painting I have to keep visiting, studying and wishing I could see in person. Kudos to you on a magnificent piece!

  22. Just found this wonderful portrait, and I recognized Ciree instantly..(survivor junkie). Anyhoo, the portrait is fabulous, and thanks for the instruction section on "how to make your first strokes Count !" loved that ! It's hard to remember for me, so I need reminders from time to time !


Your visits to my blog and the comments you leave here are an integral part of my creative process. They are helpful, supportive and well, let's face it, they feel really good! If I don't thank you personally, please allow me to thank you in advance for taking the time to stop by and leave your thoughts, they mean so much!