11x4, oil on canvas
This week I finally finished a small oil painting based an a black and white snapshot one of my life drawing friends shared with me. The original photo appealed to me right away, with the rocking boat, and determined girl, sucking on her Fudgesicle and pulling on the oars. I asked for permission to tackle it as a painting, and he agreed. Apparently the picture is of him and his sister at Camp Cleghorn, near Waupaca. I'm guessing this was in the 1940s.
There are all sorts of challenges working from an old photo. Often details disappear into the dark passages, or are out of focus. I had real concerns about figuring out where the girl's thumbs were, and where exactly her sun suit top was in the shadow under her arm. When the picture is of people who are friends or relatives, I have a feeling of obligation to create a reasonable likeness, although I tried to not let my shortcomings in that department bother me too much. My first concern was an appealing picture, whether or not the children in my painting look exactly like the old photo or not. Then there is color. I have to invent colors, since the source photo has none. I really don't know what color her hair or eyes were, or what color her sun suit was. And since I am fairly new to oil painting, I struggle with creating reasonable skin tones.
But the painting is finished. All I need to do now is sign it, and hope that people find it to be appealing.