I recently completed the back side to this double sided portrait painting. (See spotlighted image above) The front side had been completed in 2011, however for many (technical) reasons, I had not been able to fully realise my original vision.
The front side consisted of 25 independent individual blocks, which were painted separately. See linked image here on the right for a full description. However, I had always wanted the back side to present an etherial yet unified mirrored image of the front. However due to the piecemeal nature of the front substrate, the project lacked any structural unity for realising such a vision. So I had to create it. See glueing and framing Anna on my companion blog site atelierartisanal.com.
As for the painting of the back, my idea was simple enough. Create a chromatic underpainting in egg tempera as a mirror image of the front, yet lighter in value, say, 50%. See left. Allow that egg tempera to cure long enough – which turned out to be 10 years! (certainly not my original intention). Then add in some white (oil) scumbles (to lighten and unify) followed by a transparent blue glaze (with clouds) to send her skywards. But since ten years of storage had elapsed – as well as the intervening necessity of glueing all the pieces together – I had some additional preparatory work to do before realising these plans. You can read about grouting and glazing Anna here.
Since texture had always been part of my original vision and because some of the front panels were textured, their mirror image on the back was, also. That meant that besides the grid as a definitive texture, there would also be a variety of textures on some of the panels. These elements would influence the global glazing in a way that, thankfully, was not under my control. Thus, after letting my white scumbles dry, I took a deep breath, lay in a transparent blue glaze and threw in some energetic white clouds for accent. After forty years – of leaving the originally unpainted blocks to languish in storage – ten years – of indecision and curing the egg tempera – two months – of framing and repairing – and forty five minutes – of actual painting – I was finally done. I am very happy with the result but whew!
I don’t think I’ll try something like this again.