I love this piece of whimsey. She is the result of a fascination with the older forms of portraiture that use a standard pose with embellishments. They all sit the same way, and wear the same kind of costumes and look to be frozen in time. They all look to be a bit trapped in their backgrounds. However, I found that by trying to replicate the technique it is revealed that the sitter’s face comes alive in this type of portrait. By painting away the other parts, the face becomes more alive.
The use of a diagonal grid is very evident in this piece. It is almost as if she has been trapped in the maze of lines that underlay the work. However, her face is very strong, and overcomes the background patterns.
By working with the piece as if it were a study of the older portrait form, I found that I could understand why this format continues to satisfy viewers. The very fact that the image is flat, allows the human features to become dominate. It was a very interesting exercise, and I plan to work with a similar format again.