A wedding diptych isn’t complete without a husband: Claire married Dénes and what follows is the process both for his portrait and for the framing of the two paintings together.
I had done Claire’s portrait before painting her for this diptych, but this was my first time working to capture Dénes’ likeness. The miniature scale of the piece added to the challenge of the new face.
I like my wide brushes, so working on a composition that’s 8 x 8 inches was not all that easy. To begin with, I was putting down a lot more paint than could fit on this small panel.
I work with acrylics but still the paint wasn’t drying quickly enough for me. When I’m working with a larger composition, I can leave an area to dry while I work on another portion of the same piece, allowing me to immerse myself more fully in one composition. It was impossible to do this with just 64 square inches of space.
In the earlier process shots, I can see myself struggling with the limitations of the small panel, but, by this point, I had finally managed to get into the miniature rhythm. I was starting to like being able to change the whole piece completely with a few brush strokes.
Of course, even my new understanding of miniature didn’t save me from the trouble of portraying teeth! This image is a rather unfortunate layer in the process of painting Dénes’ mouth…
...but one that was quickly resolved.
Once I had the mouth more solidly worked out, I could focus on cleaning up the rest of the face.
I started bringing in the details that I’d been ignoring with the wide brushes.
I began the diptych before I even knew how I would present the pieces. I had some vague ideas about framing them and then creating a cardboard carrying case for them to make packing the works easy for the multi-national couple, but, in one of those delicious moments of obvious-ness, I realized that the case and the frames could be combined!
I fantasized briefly about building the box/frame myself, but a quick search online turned up Arizona Specialty Woodcrafts, and it seemed that if a professional could do it for such a reasonable price I had no business pretending to be a carpenter. I settled for decorating the box once it was delivered to me. I painted only the inside lip of the box—the part that reads as the frame when the diptych is displayed.
I am thrilled with the craftsmanship of the box.
And my favorite part of the presentation is the unfinished wood of the closed box. From the outside, it looks modest, but it’s so full of color and life on the inside, just like Claire and her man!
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