Amid the portraits I'm working on, there is nearly always something else on the go. In this case, it's "Pin Up #8". This one was inspired by a black and white photo of Rita Daigle in YANK - the army weekly. Because YANK was published by the armed forces, the content is in the public domain. So for me, it's a great source of retro inspiration.
When I'm sketching out a Pin Up, there are usually a lot of pencil strokes that need erasing. What I like to do is mix a light cool taupe wash and use a very fine brush to go over the lines I want to keep. Then, once it's dry, I can safely erase all the pencil lines.
"Pin Up #8" - stage 1
I like to dive right in and suggest form during this stage. Sometimes I have no idea what colours I'll use on the clothing until I actually begin painting. Not much for planning, I tend to jump in headfirst.
For example, when I started this I was going to make my model a blonde. But I changed my mind about the direction of hair flow after I'd started (originally I sketched the hair falling straight down, as in the reference photo, but after I'd drawn in the arm I decided it looked better with her hand under a bit more hair). I don't like to "scrub out" too much on hot press (smooth) paper, so I just went darker instead, to keep it looking clean.
"Pin Up #8 - stage 2"
After the first stage is finished, it's all about glazing. I try not to use too many layers because I live by the motto "only as many brush strokes as necessary" - it's what keeps everything fresh and vibrant. And let's face it: this is a painting, not a photo, so I want the viewers to be able to see brushstrokes.
There have been so many amazing pin up artists that I've drawn inspiration from, however one stands out for me: Alberto Vargas. I love to paint subjects, and I hate cluttering up my paintings with unnecessary background information. Vargas was so innovative and dramatic when he placed his figures without representing any furniture or background. This, to me, makes the figure more fluid - all you see is the beautiful lines created by the woman, without any distractions.
Rita Daigle in an issue of YANK army weekly magazine.
Above - the reference photo. Not much to go on, being so small and low resolution - but it's a fun starting point!