8.5.12 Day 6


Finished! It was a close thing however, even more spectators spoke to me as the painting neared its conclusion. I began the day by completing Beethoven’s wild swirling locks which I didn’t finish yesterday. As much as I admire him, today I would have preferred it if he was bald! This was the last area of detail before revisiting and modifying previously painted features, and linking the composition together by painting a series of vigorously applied washes which I had originally considered as my opening act. I think I made the right decision to work the way I did, the method I used ensured that the image has been revealed in the same way a gradually opened curtain allows light to enter a dark room. Perhaps having observed my methodical approach and seeing the painting develop each day, the children might even imitate my working method and try working this way themselves.

My last act was to put some final touches to the face of Leonardo which was the most difficult part of the painting as the source used was his portrait in red chalk c.1512. I took some photographs and cleared the corridor at 4.45. It’s been a good project and in this I’m not just making a reference to the painting, but with my fitness too. All has worked out well but as happens with every painting, there has been a tug of war to some extent. Paintings are like living creatures and develop their own characteristics as they grow, I’ve not had it all my own way. I firmly believe that at times they take over and paint themselves, and you have to adapt accordingly. The same has been the case here but I’ve had the final say. William would say ‘All’s Well That Ends Well’, but I’ll finish as I began and leave the final words to Freddie…………….
‘Bad mistakes
I’ve made a few
I’ve had my share of sand kicked in my face –
But I’ve come through

But it’s been no bed of roses
No pleasure cruise –
I consider it a challenge before the whole human race –
And I ain’t gonna lose………………….’