Thursday, 6 June 2013

something completely different

This week it has been the 60th anniversary of the Queen's coronation. And I have been trying to learn how to paint portraits. It is highly risky to try and paint a portrait of anyone really, but especially the Queen, as invariably everybody hates what you have done. The photo I worked from was taken by an employee of NASA: Her Majesty is here bathed in American sunshine; she was visiting the Goddard Space Flight Centre in Maryland in 2007.
There are loads of portraits of the Queen to look at. There are 21 in a slide show here. This one is by Lucien Freud (2001). I am not keen, to be honest, but envy his ability to work with 50 shades of white. This is a very high key painting: look at the whites on her face and on her hair. Yet he still makes her crown look brighter still. No idea how he did this.
Here's a much softer depiction by Peter Blake (2002). Really like this, although the background is very cool and ever so slightly creepy, I thought. But what a lovely painting
By contrast, how about this from George Condo, displayed at Tate Modern in 2006. It was apparently labelled "the cabbage patch queen" by the press and critics. Bless.
Last but not least, there is Ralph Heimans' stupendous painting that was unveiled last year as part of the Jubilee celebrations. You have got to admire the virtuosity of this, even if it isn't your favourite style: just look at the perspective! - those chequered floor tiles! - the foreshortened circles on the carpet! Yikes. I love it, and his other work too.

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