Sunday, July 3, 2022

Portrait sketch of my 2nd great grandmother...

My reference for this watercolor project was a photograph of my 2nd Great Grandmother,  Mary Adeline Benson.

Mary was born in 1863 in Sturbridge, Massachusetts. The photo was taken of Mary shortly before her 1884 marriage to Harry Herbert Stone (1858-1941). At the time of their marriage, both worked in factories in West Brookfield -- he in a box factory and she in a corset factory. 

Although this is a sepia-toned photo, I chose blue for Mary's eyes, as both of her parents' photographs show them with light-colored eyes. I used a pencil to mark the spacing for eyes, nose, and mouth, but my goal was to paint "freehand" as much as possible. 

I worked with a limited palette for this portrait sketch: Transparent Yellow, Burnt Sienna, Sepia, Transparent Brown, and Mineral Violet for face, hair, and dress, and Cobalt Blue, Payne's Gray, and Ultramarine Blue for the background. 

A close look at the reference photo, reveals a slender gold bar pin that Mary pinned to her white collar. That small pin was saved by Mary's youngest daughter, my Great-great Aunt Maude. Before she died, my aunt gave the pin (now more than 130 years old) to me.

Mary Adeline Benson, age 20

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