This work is finished and is about to be varnished. The portrait is originally by Peter Paul Rubens and presumably a wedding portrait of a young woman married into a wealthy family in Antwerp circa 1617. Her elaborate dress is of French style and a product of court culture. Clothing of this extravagance was not typically chosen by women at this time, thus revealing the status of the bride and her betrothed ancestry. (Information from Rubens, a Genius at Work, Royal Museum of Fine Arts Belgium)
The bright magentas /purples which appear on this work, are some of the initial priming layers which were masked off in the early stages of the work. Typically I will start on the face, but in this work -the lace which envelopes her features actually came first. Lace is problematic for me to paint – more so when it is enlarged to this scale. I go in and paint the negative spaces, the darker areas first then go back and begin layering on top and around these initial shapes. Once this is at a reasonable state of recognition, I then begin painting her facial features which are layered in pretty much the same manner.