A commission for a classic portrait. I focused on the complexion of the beautiful young woman from indonesian and dutch origin, showing a great mixture of madder red, burnt sienna, green, purple, yellow and blue hues in her face.
I decided to put the stress on the face and the hands and therefor asked her to wear something dark. It’s a hint to dutch masters of the 17th century that did the same in order to draw the attention to the facial and manual expressions. I let her look away to the upper left. The commissioner’s initial idea was to have her look straight forward but then I explained that, when she is to have children, one teenage daughter in the near future no matter where she will stand in the living room, mama’s prying eyes always will look straight at her. It is a thing all good portrait painters know. Time stands still when you look at someone. It can be too confronting. Predators like dogs cannot endure it. Besides that, I once read that Leonardo da Vinci developed a theory on the 4th dimension, having his models look away in order to suggest some kind of movement – the depiction of time.
I also included the watch she is wearing because it provided me a perfect way to show a curve in the pulse that would have looked rather flat because of the intense lighting.