Portrait of Dorothy Dix (detail)
Mixed Media (Colored pencils both Prisma & Polys and acrylic paints with text on paper glued to the surface) on black illustration board
Portraits painted from Dorothy Dix photos used with kind permission, of Austin Peay State University’s Felix G. Woodward Library, Archives and Special Collections.
This week I'm starting out a new historical project....a portrait of “turn of the last century” advice columnist Dorothy Dix. After just a quick search I found that the lovely Austin Peay State University’s Felix G. Woodward Library, Archives and Special Collections had a ton of great photos of Ms. Dix..... aka Elizabeth Meriwether Gilmer. So I picked out a photo of her in her 30's, 50's and 80s, and decided to show her as her life and career progressed. I did a quickie sketch combining the three views, along with a bunch of (snail mail) letters representing her fans' questions and a newspaper where her columns appeared.
Using the colour thumbnail I made a pencil sketch and traced it off onto the black illustration board using yellow graphite paper. I started on the left with coloured pencils, drawing in the Art Nouveau border.
I then began penciling in the stacks of her readers' letters, resting on a shelf connected to the border. I took some random text with some headline phrases about Ms. Dix....”Confidante of the Nation”.....”highest paid journalist of her day”......printed them out on the computer, the size needed for the painting and glued them down onto a painted newspaper hanging off the shelf. I also included the permission from the Austin Peay Archives. After the adhesive (gel medium) dried I began glazing over the hand drawn text columns and pictures with white and yellow glazes to blend it all together. I wanted it legible but not blaring.
Then I was able to get down to the “fun” part......the first of the three Dorothy Dix portraits. I am doing the early and elderly portraits of Ms. Dix in colored pencil because I want them to recede a bit from the center and main portrait, and using colored pencils on the black illustration board will mute the colors a bit. For the center portrait, when she was in her hey day as a journalist, I will paint in full colour acrylics.