I don't usually go through this much preparation for a painting, but this is a very elaborate portrait - and I want to make sure that I work out any possible conflicts before I get started.
The first step is to get a 'feel' for the commission. I did this with a color study of the basic idea. This is not set in stone, and I will make a lot of changes to it as I refine the ideas.
Goauche on Paper
7" x 9"
After discussing the color study with her, I drew up a sketch incorporating some of the changes. A different lamp and chair, removing the wine bottle (he was not a drinker) . I thought it would be cute to ad a mouse among the books (at this point, he's just a vague reference on the lower left above the "A" in APortraitForYou.)
Probably the biggest change from the color study is removing the window. I thought that it would bring too much light into the room. I've replaced it with a painting of a rainbow hanging on the wall. For you artists out there, notice that I changed the arc of the rainbow. Can you tell why?
In the actual painting, the center of interest will be illuminated with light thrown from the lamp, and the background will be more subtle. Hard to portray in a quick pencil sketch. The other layout considerations are making sure that I leave a path to Max. I don't want to visually block the viewer from coming into the painting. The books are not a closed arrangement, but have an open area that leads you into the painting. I'm not sure, compositionally, about the books above Max's head. In the actual portrait, they will be blended into the background more, so I think it will be alright and not lead you out of the painting.
By Monday, I expect to be starting the actual portrait - come along, it's going to be fun!