Thursday, January 19, 2012

#51 Virginia- One Hundred Alla Prima Portraits of American Teenagers


Virginia is one of three triplets, the first set of triplets I have ever painted, or met.  I painted both of her brothers earlier in this project, and her mother wanted me to paint her, too.  Virginia has Autism, and was not able to sit for her portrait, so this painting was done from a photograph. I tried to paint her portrait in the same "Alla Prima"  manner in which I painted the others, even though I was looking at a monitor.  I have to admit, it was really fun to work from a computer.  Virginia's mother, Ann, is really dedicated to her children, and works very hard to provide Virginia with stimulating activities.  One day I called and they were finger painting. Ann has created a beautiful and welcoming home, and Virginia's environment is calm, organized, and provides her with everything she needs.  She was very cooperative when I went to photograph her, and understood what I wanted and communicated easily with her mom. Ann felt comfortable with me because I have a nephew with autism, and I have experienced some of what she is going through.  My nephew is 21 and non verbal, and his mom, my sister, is also very dedicated and understands what he needs. 


  1. Computers can be a help for artists. Glad you tried it.

  2. This is amazing Natalie! I enjoy working from a computer monitor as well. It's nice to have the freedom to zoom into different areas of the subject. A very helpful tool.

  3. Firstly, I say BRAVO to your sister and for Virginia's Mom for everything they do for their children. I know a boy with Autism and his Mom works with him everyday to keep his mind busy and he does so well because of the incredible attention given to him!! This painting is so beautifully painted, Natalie. Love those wonderful shadows...

  4. Thanks, all, and Hilda, I agree, Bravo to them! As a footnote, Virginia's mom called me after she read the blog post, and she was so appreciative to have Virginia included and to be acknowledged that her repsonse made it all worth it.

  5. Surprized how I can't see the difference between your live paintings and this. Beautiful!

    1. That is great to hear! I used to work from photos a lot in the past, before I studied at Studio Incamminati, and I developed a lot of bad habits stemming from my lack of real understanding of form, and how to build form with values. Over the last 10 years I have worked almost exclusively from life, and I realize now how important this is, and how it effects one's ability to understand how to work from photos.