After about eighteen painting sessions, my portrait of my sister Emily is finished. What a challenge this was!
In case you don't know, my sister (an a.m. news anchor in southern Illinois) has turned her love of makeup into a side business thanks to her YouTube channel, Beauty Broadcast. Poof--I call her Poof--reviews mostly drugstore cosmetics and presents tutorials in her 400+ videos. I've always said that the kid was a star. She was featured in Elle magazine last year. In November she won YouTube's "On the Rise" competition and had her channel featured on YT's front page. She wants to have a party once she hits 100,000 subscribers, and she is very close to reaching that goal.
So she's all kinds of fabulous and I absolutely adore her. Here she is in her Beauty Broadcast room, which is painted raspberry, decorated with zebra print, and dominated by her desk and all the makeup. Believe it or not, this is only part of her collection. Cosmetics companies send her free products hoping that she will review them, she buys new items that interest her, and people like me give her high end makeup sets for her birthday and Christmas, which are two days apart. I bought her the colorful box near the brushes, the white case with the big buckle, and the little brown box with the eye near the top right corner. I'm not totally sure on that last one, but rest assured that Poof knows every single color and brand name in her collection. She also knows which compartment of which drawer it's stored in, along with how she got it, whether it smells good, sparkles, and does what it says it will.
Last month I posted a time-lapse video of me painting her face:
Satisfied with that part, I moved on to her makeup collection, which was a blast to paint because its colors were so vivid and its textures were shiny and slick. I spent days and days working on it. The wall color was reflected on every silvery or white object. Nearly every color I mixed required a speck of magenta or the wonderful hot pink frequently called "opera."
A couple of days ago, nearly 90% finished with the painting, I accidentally spilled a lot of intense, stainy magenta all over the pencils in the crystal glass on the left side. The spill was spectacular and by far the worst watercolor screw-up of my life. I gasped and began swearing as I rushed to soak up as much paint as I could with paper towels and cotton balls, repeatedly adding water to the problem area and absorbing it.
The adrenaline rush made my hands shake, so I had to calm down for about an hour before I could attempt to rescue the painting. With the help of a little opaque white, I was able to disguise the offending pink, and I repainted the glass and the pencils, which had been smeared by the paper towels. Traces of pink remain here and there, but I think they work and even reflect the wall color a bit better than before.
As with Tyler's portrait, the wall was surprisingly difficult. This is three or four coats of magenta and purple, smeared and rubbed with cotton balls to achieve a relatively flat surface. As I finished it, I started to realize that Poof's portrait has a lot in common with Tyler's in terms of composition and pose. Both subjects sit a little to the right-of-center at a desk. Right arms are up, and left arms are down. I painted three-quarter views of both heads, which are just about the same size. The wall colors are complimentary. When I put Tyler's painting to the left of Poof's, they seem to be gazing at each other. All of this was completely unintentional.
Poof and Tyler's work schedules are keeping them apart more than they would like these days, unfortunately. She's up at 2:00 a.m. for her morning news gig, and he's a first-year lawyer working a typically longer than 9-to-5 job. Most days they see each other for about an hour if they're lucky, although weekends provide some normalcy. I had originally assumed that each of them would hang their portraits in their respective offices, but maybe Poof will put Tyler up in her office, and he will hang her portrait in his office, and they can be together that way.
I can't wait to frame these and give them to my sister and brother in-law on Christmas day. Neither have seen the actual paintings yet, just the photos I've posted, and you really need to see these in person to get the full effect.