Friday, October 14, 2005

three days in the life of a portrait

Day 1

The first day is spent making space: The Artist, the sitter, the Artist's wife and his brother haul and scrape, knocking down beams in the old hay barn to give more light.

A dormouse, having escaped death in the clutches of the Artist's cat but still in poor form, is found clinging to the beam of the studio window. The Artist rescues him.


At the end of the day the Artist does a practice postcard painting and declares the light ideal.

The crew sit down to a dinner of roast pork accompanied by honey and ginger roasted butternut squash.

Day 2

faye day 3b

During the night the Artist's cat licks her lips and brings a gift of a dead dormouse to the Artist and his wife. They hope the rescue was not in vain.

The Artist is happy with the soft and autumnal light and the Sitter with what will be her view for the days to come. The two chestnut trees in the distance appear in a painting she already owns and she lets her eyes rest on a point in between them.

The Sitter is nervous about being horrified at what she will see at the end of the day end and about facing her large bits.

A base is achieved from which to take risks, scrape and add paint.


fay 2 jbg


The Artist's friends cook him a well earned white truffle risotto.

Day 3


The rescued dormouse reappears in the rafters, fully recovered and peering down at the painting from above.

faye day 3 a

After two hours the Artist starts to swear and so the Sitter is released for a fag break while he scrapes back some paint and hums out his frustration. He descends ten minutes later, calling it a day.

The Sitter is not quite happy with the shape of her mouth....


"Let's all go morris dancing" exclaims the Artist.

They eat organic sausages and mash instead.

To be continued...

...and later to be published in the artist's own version at permanent-red


Blogger ezappy said...

C'est un compte fascinant de comment une peinture est faite quand le sujet a un point de vue aussi .. il n'est pas tout à fait si facile d'apprendre comment le sens de grenades est cela ?

7:46 AM  
Blogger Lesley said...

Poor wee sleekit, cow'rin, tim'rous beastie!

12:44 PM  
Blogger ruth said...

The Dormouse, The Artist or the Sitter, Lesley?

Funny you should mention that cos my ancestor wrote it!!!

1:41 PM  
Blogger Dale said...

Holy cow, you're descended of Bobbie Burns!?

Fascinant, ezappy's right -- what a marvellous face you have!

6:57 PM  
Blogger ruth said...

lots of identity confusion going on here...

sorry to disappoint you but s'not me Dale; i'm the Artist's wife not
the Sitter (but I ain't bad neither!!! that's me in the poppy field deliberately modest) but yes he is my ancestor
(along with the equally rampant henry the 8th!!!)

7:17 PM  
Blogger MB said...

C'est vrai, c'est un compte fascinant... thanks for the glimpse. I feel for the Artist, the sleekit beastie, the Sitter and all. Sounds like a challenging day. But I'm grateful for the chance to see a portrait in progress -- fascinant, indeed! ...If we take it back far enough, I reckon we'll find we're all related.

7:30 PM  
Blogger Dale said...

Oh, of course it's not. Just went back to look at J's portraits of you. The faces are really nothing alike, except for that broody intensity that he likes to capture. (tho were I either of you I'd be flattered to be taken for the other :->)

I've been intrigued before by the fact that people I've seen in pictures but never met in sogenannt real life aren't "fixed" to their physical appearance in my mind.

10:45 PM  

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