The Red Balloon

The Red Balloon
28" x 18", oil on wood panel, 2020

This painting is the first of several paintings I have planned that features my friend, Kimberley, doing double duty, representing one's struggle with oneself (since we tend to be our own worst enemy). I shot a lot of reference of her in multiple poses, knowing I'd be able to composite them in Photoshop later.

While I had Kimberley wear a different top for each persona in this one, I didn't want to have three legs visible with the same-coloured pants so I painted jeans on the foreground figure. I think the red and blue is a great, rich combination that really pops, leaving the rear "twin" in ghostly pale colours.

My original idea for the background was a very dark, mysterious forest, but the more I looked at it while painting the figures against the roughed-in dark-ish background (over which I would have painted the suggestion of a forest), the more I liked the starkness of that, so I made it definitively black using my usual combination of Ultramarine Blue and Burnt Umber for greater richness.

Rough sketch.

Like The Last Bridge, this one's tension comes from the threat or potential of something happening: the match lighting the book on fire there, and the balloon's string being cut here. I think it's more interesting than painting the rear twin having already cut the string and the balloon floating further out of frame.

Pencil stage.

Here is the time lapse video of me painting Kimberley and her alter ego:


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