Post Script: Here is the portrait of Mary almost completed. While it's Mary herself who inspires its details, and I hope I am doing justice to the person who inspired it, a question recurs from time to time about how 'it looks finished already' when its still in progress, and I know it's sincere, so just once I want to take a moment to go over a few specific points from my own perspective about competitive miniature painting.
It's throughout the year that I am developing my miniatures for competition purposes, so if at times it seems I get into minute details, it's often a conscious effort on my part if I feel I may be preparing a painting for competition---something which usually takes longer than non-competitive miniature making. Added into the mix, my medium of egg tempera is also more time-consuming than other mediums because it consists of many superimposed thin layers of paint, but I hope it feels worth the extra time to others because of its effects, and because it is my preferred medium for painting. At times I can unconsciously get into a higher level of detail even when I am doing a simpler miniature study, and some of you have purchased good bargains from my blog in this way.
Because my particular style lends itself toward detail, to the extent it feels important, I go as far as I can go with detail to be on target for a competitive entry. But at miniature competitions I have seen that other styles are also respected, and what I have witnessed over the past six years as a participant in competition is that for those with a different style, such as a pastel artist or an impressionistic painter, it is simply a matter of preserving that specific style and scaling it down more finely for its miniature size and scale. Making miniatures is about an effort to fit into a small area and scale the same level of painting that we can paint larger.
When it comes to minute detail at miniature scale, ultimately it becomes important to see a miniature painting in person in order to truly appreciate it. I can come close, but I can't duplicate it entirely online either if it's this tiny, so I hope if you have never seen a miniature show in person, you may have an opportunity in the future to do so.
Next post I'll show you the final version of the portrait of Mary.
"The Piano Recital, Mary's Turn," (in progress), 5 1/2" x 4 1/4", egg tempera miniature on gessoed panel
Here's another update on my progress, and with her dress now finished, I'll do one last post of the completed painting in a few more days. I want to work on her hands and hair a little more and refine certain details and values in the painting.