Woman in Black, Reading

This is part of a series of paintings of people reading that I’m auctioning off to benefit ProPublica. Go here for details.

So this was a painting that surprised me. I was working from a photograph of a woman in a pink sundress, with the bright, happy, green Washington Square Park in the background. I often paint on black gesso, so there was a stage early on when all you could see was her figure against the black background–I hadn’t yet put in the dress, the bench, or the park.

I loved it so much at that stage that I wanted to stop–but it looked a little weird, with the dress and the bench only half drawn in. So I finished it as simply as I could, in black and grey, and left it alone. I’m quite sure it turned out better than it would have if I’d gone ahead with the pink dress and the park.