Hope Cunningham Fine Art

To view more of my work, please visit www.hopecunningham.com

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Pieces of Eight

Pieces of Eight 14X11 Original Oil Painting

This lovely lady is Anne Anderson. She is extraordinarily active on Dewees and very generous with her time and talents. Anne is on the Cultural Arts Committee and is responsible for pitching my idea for a portrait project to the rest of the committee and the locals on the island. Because of her efforts I am enjoying island life and getting to know the folks that live here.

One of the reasons that I love doing alla prima portraits is the collaborative relationship with the sitter. Folks often come in with wardrobe and jewelry options and then there is always discussion about whether to wear glasses or not. Anne's glasses are part of her personality and symbolic of her playfullness. She said she used to wear delicate wire rimmed glasses and her decision to try a more colorful and eccentric frame evoked some controversy. Nothing like stirring things up once in a while!

When I first painted her, I didn't include the necklace she was wearing. Sometimes I don't notice jewelry because I am so focused on big shapes and relationships. She asked me to add it and then told me the story about its origins. She told me it was a "pieces of eight coin" and explained that it was an ancient Spanish coin that was commonly cut into eight pieces to make change. It's a beautiful and historical piece and makes for an interesting title.

When I embarked on this project, my plan was to blog about my work on a daily basis. In case you haven't noticed, that hasn't happened. Since I started on the 5th, I have completed seventeen portraits. On some days I do two. Add to that the fifteen I did in Tucson before I left, and you have a significant body of work for six weeks. The end of the day finds me so tired that its all I can do to clean my brushes. I take comfort from quote I read that stated "Some people don't recognize opportunity because it looks a lot like hard work"!

Photographing the wet paintings has been a bit of a challenge. I find natural light works best at eliminating the glare and it has been raining pretty much nonstop for the last two weeks. I probably won't get everything photographed until I stop painting on the 28th. During the first week of March, I will varnish and frame everything and put it into storage for the first show on the 22nd of March. Then it's a quick trip home to Tucson to spend some time with my much neglected and eternally supportive husband. Travel always strengthens my love and appreciation of family and home!

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