This is a fun combination of a few techniques I’ve been wanting to try more: an extreme crop, asymmetric multiple canvases, and textures.
I’ve done a few extreme portrait crops (Tobey and TJ) but this is the first to show more of a pose that was too good to pass up. The most interesting parts of the pose were a bit on a diagonal anyway so this made it a good candidate for a multi-canvas pose, something I haven’t done for years and now know a bit more about the logistics (more about that later).
The scale also lent itself to more abstraction. Anytime the portrait gets bigger than the actual subject I like to go a bit more gestural and loose. I’ve got a few pots of acrylic textures (last used on this breakfast triptych) that I brought out for extra visual interest. It worked pretty well for pulling in more fur detail and also some smaller bumpy texture for the pads. I’m glad I got the tones done first before bringing it in; it was tricky to work around once it was on the canvas. It was also tricky for the isolation coats because I usually add those with a sponge brush. This was pretty effective at ripping that up. Whoops!
So: multi-canvas logistics. The other multi-canvas pieces I’ve done were either two large canvases stacked vertically, or a set of four canvases I’d laid out mostly horizontally. In hindsight I realize the vertical ones were not much fuss because they can mostly hang freely and let gravity even them out. The four-canvas painting I’d reinforced with a thin slat of wood, an extra from a friend’s house, so I could disassemble it if I need to but I keep it together because I have the storage space. For this portrait I (optimistically) thought I could brace these side-by-side canvases with chipboard and hang them with one wire across both. This results in a painting that bows out a little in the middle. Small metal braces yield the same result too, no matter how many you add. To make a painting like this hang without bending, it really needs a full-width rigid brace. Lesson learned!