The woman in the painting had with her the photo taken of her some years ago from which the painting was derived. She now wanted SOMEONE to try to finish it.
SOMEONE got to be me, today, and I have this small square canvas in the studio along with a faded photo to work from. i will go to the woman' s place and take photos of my own to see better her skin tone and the basic bone structure. She has gotten heavy in the meantime, and grey! This will be a good challenge.
And it is so prepaid. This is a good thing in the current economy!
To interview for this commission, I took unframed art work of people's heads to the gallery that requested that I do this job. Folks had a lively time looking at various clothed and unclothed figures in pastel, watercolor and oil. The woman was especially admiring of a profile I had made of a black dancer -- a nude, but not particularly revealing. The head was done with a fairly dramatic handling of the face against the background. She liked this. So that is how I'll approach the painting of her.
I am extremely grateful that she gave consent to me to put a warm neutral glaze over all, to unify the thing, and give me a base to work from. She was happy to let me "take over" the painting rather than try to match the style of the original artist. This makes it much more alive for me, and it will show up in the painting.
Below, the profile of the dancer that the woman liked.