Hopefully our September members’ meeting will be held at the Athenaeum, but for our 26 August meeting we were still on Zoom.
Liz Pearson opened the meeting by welcoming new members and reminding us of the latest change in dates for selection weekend – if you’re in any doubt, please email Nicole, the SASA secretary – email@example.com . Liz also told us how very well the current Members 2 exhibition is doing at Kirstenbosch – very uplifting news, after the long months of slow sales – and then introduced Natalie Hirschman, our guest for the evening.
Natalie did a live demo for us, her first attempt at doing a portrait demo before a live audience, as she generally takes a lot longer than the time we had to complete a portrait. Actually, most of us would’ve been happy to watch her paint all night! It was truly amazing to see how she “builds” her portraits. We were shown stages of some of her others, from nearly beginning to completed work, so we could see where she was heading.
After showing us her selection of colours on her big glass palette, Natalie started on the background, with really big brushes, putting down shapes, rather than drawing lines and then added the basic face shapes. To her the background and face are integral to each other and need to be painted as such, rather than separately.
She likes to give her work a sense of movement and mystery with her brushwork, marks and undefined edges, constantly changing brushes, mixing colours, cooling and warming, lightening and darkening, adding and removing as she goes.
She paints “around the features” rather than the features themselves with brushstrokes rather than line and letting the features flow into each other. Natalie prefers to paint wet into wet paint, so nothing is static, putting down the basic structure of the face in one go and working out the details later.
Thank you Natalie for a totally absorbing evening. We’re waiting in breathless anticipation to see how the portrait eventually turned out, although, I think we all agree, it was rather beautiful just as you left it.