Artwork / 2007 / Beatrise

painted portrait of baby girl with tennis balls in the background
Gwenn Seemel
acrylic on wood
24 x 24 inches

This was really my first professional painting on panel—besides this painting that I made just as I graduated from college and that was really difficult for me to finish. Let’s just say that, before Beatrise, I’d painted almost exclusively on stretched materials, so the board’s un-fabric-like behavior proved to be a challenge. I work in layers with watered-down paints, and, since the panel refused to absorb the thinned paint, I was forced to change my process some.

I find that changing my working conditions helps me to learn more about painting. My You Bags—like this piece and this one—have certainly taught me plenty over the years. And getting a digital SLR for photographing my subjects in 2007 was also huge. Without the restraints of film and processing fees, I started to take a good deal more photos of my subjects, and the kinds of images I capture now are more dynamic than when I was using my father’s old Pentax ME. The truth is that an artist’s tools are their most intimate teachers.

painted portrait
detail image