by Yvonne Callaway
More than 20 years ago I painted a (poor) portrait of my mother and her friend, Sheila, exiting the back door by the yellow bug light. Two of my mum’s Lhasas figured in the painting too. The painting hung in her home but something wasn’t right with her face and bugged me every time I saw it.
Four years later I “borrowed” the painting and redid my mother’s face. Sheila and the dogs were fine, but the maternal portrait . . . not so much. The photo below shows the painting suffered many beginner’s flaws: perspective, placement, colour — heck, poor drawing!
The painting recently came back to me. I still didn’t like it and decided to salvage the frame but gesso over the painting. The framing was rather elaborate and took an expert to dismantle. While maneuvering the 36 x 24 inch work into the car I realized, again, I really liked the moodiness of Sheila’s character in the work.
So I decided to salvage that part. The framer and I worked out the correct surgical cuts.
It is still a primitive piece but captures the contrast of light and dark, angled architecture and soft woman. It talks to me on this third edit.
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I like both versions of the painting. And I must say, I can see your Mom in you.
It is the same painting, simply edited by being cut down.
It’s said there is a little bit of ourselves in every painting, particularly portraits.
Such an interesting ‘back story’. Thank you for sharing.
The stories add richness, I agree. Thank you Sheila.
I like both paintings very much. The first tells a story and the second “cropped” work is an interesting portrait with much warmth to it.
Thank you for that, Susan.
WOW! I love the way the bug light shines on the bricks and falls on your mom. I really love the original, but I see the moodiness in Sheila is much more apparent in the cropped version. I think it is a wonderful piece of art, both ways.
You are too kind. No, really!
The cropped version is hanging with about 12 other portraits in my powder room (!!!) The leftovers of the original are in a dump somewhere.