Painting a "double portrait" - my painting is pregnant!

Recently a woman contacted me and showed interest in being painted by me. "No problem!" I thought, for until today I've always enjoyed painting people and portraits from life. But this time was particularly special because she told me that she was pregnant and loved to keep this memory of her baby belly alive in a special way. I was so excited to hear about it! Never before have I painted a pregnant woman.

The day she entered my studio I called myself a lucky artist - cause she tried on only one or two different robes and we were quickly agreeing to use the first one (You know, like when you try on 20 stylings for a party just to find out that the first one was still actually the best fit ;-)!?).

Sometimes it can take a while to warm up the model and find a pose that works with the natural lighting from my north light windows. Not this time: She just sat down, naturally folded up one leg underneath her on the chair, and looked out of the window with a dreamy and glowing look. And I thought - "wow that might work!" and asked her "are you sure you can hold this for a while without discomfort?". I really had no interest in making a pregnant woman feel stressed or uncomfortable at any time. She agreed it was all fine and I started painting. We soon started chatting about a lot of different topics and had a lot of fun (up to this point I wasn't even aware that I can paint and talk so much at once...).

After 2 hours I had my first idea sketched in and left it to dry to later add the final layers in my studio. I sometimes paint alla prima (in one sitting) but I rather like to take the painting further, to build up the lights and work with the interesting oil paint structures, while preventing overworking the painting at the same time (that's a challenge, indeed!).

With this piece I let some days pass by and visited the painting multiple times, just looking at it. This way I'm allowing the artwork to have a conversation with me and tell me what it needs to be pushed into the direction of my artistic vision.

This time I knew from the beginning, that the baby belly had to be featured, of course. I also knew the background had to be red in some way - it's been in my mind long before the model appeared. So I finally combined a dark red background to highlight the light on the figure and especially the belly of the model.

When I finished the painting yesterday, I just can say it was an exciting experience and such an honor to paint the model and the new life that will enter this world to say "Hi, you painted me when you didn't even know how I looked like!". Such "double portraits" have their own magic and I hope I can experience that again, soon.

I hope you had a good read and a nice insight into my painting process. If so, feel free to like and share this blog post with your friends.

Have a lovely day,


"Paintings are a sanctuary for the mind"

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