Saturday, December 19, 2009

Symbolism in portraiture

I've made a start on the background of the portrait.  It may well change the overall values of the face, but I'll see once its in place and tweak as I go along.

I like symbolism in portraiture.  It makes a piece personal and gives the viewer a talking point as they try to interpret the symbols.  I rarely explain the symbols to others for exactly those reasons and because they are personal to both the sitter and to me as the artist.  Symbolism has been used in portraiture for hundreds of years.  Some of the most famous portraits of Queen Elizabeth I contained many symbols to represent her view of herself and her power and virtues to the world.

So these are the initial layers for the background which outline the drawings that I have placed there.  I don't want them to be focal points, but almost shadow images that the viewer has to examine closely and to decide if they are really there or just imagination.

This portrait is of my brother in law by the way, who I hope I don't perturb too much during this process.


Robyn said...

Beautiful portrait, Jeanette, it has great character and integrity. I particularly admire your achievements with skintone.

Jo Castillo said...

This is very nice. You are amazing in your portraits. Such personality.

Margaret Ryall said...

I love symbolism and was very interested in the link to the Elizabeth portrait and the symbolism involved in it. Some of these were symbols I was unfamiliar with. Great portrait!

Jeanette said...

Thanks Robyn. The skintones arrived as more of a happy accident and then moved on from there.

Thanks for the support Jo. I enjoy creating portraits. There is something fascinating about the human face.

Margaret, symbolism adds such interest to work, especially portraits and Elizabethan England (and prior) was very fond of them.

I did a symbolic self portrait awhile back, its still not complete, but its a fascinating exercise to go through.