Family Portrait

The day came when they asked me to make a painting of the family, my mother in law asked me -Could you make a painting from this picture and add yourself too?- Umh..! Of course!…

Well… It’s been the course of months with problems to make it work. I had never made a group painting, I thought it would be easy. Hohoho… An average of three times each I had to re-build the faces, except mine (who would care for that one?); and huge composition problems due to the lack of center in a battery of subjects equally lit along the surface. The solution I found, which makes the painting work is photographic. I followed the logic of my source image (a wedding picture), created with flash, so I drew a circle around the actual portraits, centered at the level of the chest at the middle of the painting, this circle contains te lighting just like a flash but in this case it also contains the light of the lansdcape behind the figures. It worked! After this the painting could be seen without seeming empty or tiring out the vision. I could have darkened the edges even more after this solution but I wanted to keep the unfinished draft look of the surface.

Eryavuz Gungil family, Oil on canvas, 80 x 60cm, signed MV2019

So, with this one I understood something I had found in old portraits: a severe darkening on the foreground, so much that you couldn’t see the lower half of the sitter’s blouse. Pretty interesting!

In this painting I wanted to depict my turkish family and the very phenomenon of having such a thing. From the beginning I dreamt with a courtain in the background depicting the landscape of Turkey, but more than Turkey the landscape of the faraway places from where my new family comes, they say they came from remote places in Asia, one part closer to Black Sea and another from South East, very far. And everyone comes from somewhere, me too… So, in the end, parts from the two new families depicted also come from somewhere else, Antalya and Mexico, the previous two branches might as well be behind the group; on the left side the Mediterranean, on the right hand the mountains of Central Mexico. Well, that’s what I see!

Regarding portrait painting as an activity for me, it’s been a challenge. I really thought it would be easier. It took too much time and the result is barely satisfiying. I liked how the marrying couple works individually as a portrait, the grey background works very well, the pose of the bride and the shape of the dress creates a very simple diagonal composition that could very well be a single painting. I would like to do another one like that! I find as well that I’m quite far from efficiently model faces through direct painting, but the lady at the centre is a highlight in this journey. It was solved (fourth attempt) in one session and is very very effective, lifelike and ‘lightweight’ (No wonder who comissioned the painting :P). I could do better, I may keep trying and keep posting.