Day Six: 10 Paintings in 10 Days

It pays off to be in love with your art.
Especially when you live in a town where there are about 10 gringa women for every man, and most of the men are 50+!

Still, staying single CAN be a good thing when you hibernate in the studio for 10 days and do nothing but paint, which is what I was doing when I fell a little bit in love with my painting from day 6 of my 10 paintings in 10 days challenge:

sketch on canvas

I started painting with the mid morning sun coming in through the bamboo slats in the roof (above). Kind of lovely and infuriating for drawing.
This time I was set on learning from my last painting, where I felt like I overdid it with too much paint on my White Lady piece. This time I would go really light on the amount of oil on the brush in order to achieve a soft-edge, dry brush technique on the skin.
As for the composition, I had a vision of this particular lady of the night in regal purple, with Klimt-like vertical lines and linear decor, along with string vertical lines.


Palette knife background negative space

I started out with a palette knife to create a choppy, vertically-lined background in shades of indigo and deep purple. Alizarin crimson and phthalo blue were combined with a little bit of white and a lot of Liquin fast-drying medium. I cursed myself later for forgetting to use my Oleopasto Liquin, which would have given more texture to the palette knife.

gold and skin

Next came yellow ochre mixed with a touch of white for the skin, and I LOVED how the dry brush skimmed the surface of the canvas in order to create rosy skin tones with the pink-hued canvas. I played around with some metallic Klimt-like gold, and enjoyed how it set off the colors of the skin and background.

Adding raw umber crimson mix to make dark


I really hate to use black-black in a painting. By that I mean, while I might want to achieve the effect of blackness, I would do my best NOT to use black paint. Mars or ivory black and most others neutralize and deaden a painting, sucking the eye into a hole on the canvas where you use them. No one wants that! Here I used a mis of ultramarine blue and raw umber, which gave me a deep cool black-ishness that brought out the blues in the purple background.



I wanted to bring more patterns in, as well as up the sexy vibe I was getting from this lady of the lamplight. I decided the plunging neckline underneath her luxurious robe was covered in elaborate lace. I thought it a nice transition from the dry brush skin underneath. The scant amount of paint over her face and body really made her seem more naked under her lingerie than if I had painted each inch with glaze after glaze of color.

face 1


Her face begins to come into focus. I carry the white, which is actually mixed with a healthy dose of lavender and liquin but appears white on the canvas, to her earrings.

lady in lace


And in this state she waits until her final unveiling at the September 12th art opening at Casa de la Noche, her former workplace. I just love her, and, let me tell you, it’s rare that an artist loves their work. My mom was telling me how much she was enjoying this blog series so far (isn’t that what moms are for? ;)) and I mentioned what pain and intensity accompany almost every day of speedy painting.
“What?? But you make it look so effortless!”
Well, let me assure you now my friends, the process goes something like: AgonyAgonyAgonyAgonyAgonyAgonyJOY!!!!

Still, I hope that the subject of this painting, who would have gone by a fake name at work, would think of this portrait.

I’ve been reading a book documenting the lives of prostitutes in 1860s-1930s Colorado, USA, and there are certainly tons of interesting connections to be made between then and the 1937 damas de la vida feliz, ladies of the happy life.

I originally thought of these women as desperate souls who were shamefully driven to prostitution because of dire circumstances, trying to make a living for their family. But, there were others who got into the oldest profession on the world because they didn’t want to settle for the pious life of a mother supporting a growing brood in nice (or boring?) society. Some of the girls were wild, just wanting to be free of people telling them how to live their life so they could go have fun, make their own money, get drunk and dance all night. Still others were entrepreneurial, women who wanted to be in charge of their own money, where it went to, and how they made it. This really shattered my naive and innocent ideas of the subculture of prosititution around the turn of the century.

This women, I think, is one of the proud ones.

in candle light

in candle light


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