The subject of this portrait is unknown. However, she must have been important to the artist.
The artist used the ‘rule of ‘thirds’ in this composition and has placed the subject’s face in the central third horizontally, just off centre. The viewer’s eyes focus on the woman’s closed eyes then float back and forth to the yellow cross, the symbol of Christianity.
As in most of his paintings, the artist has elongated the subject’s face and neck, enlarged her eyes and given her large, bright lips. The orange-reds and blue-violet mixes used for her loose, and natural looking hair, have been applied by using swift, random brush strokes. Her mask like face is similar to faces seen in many of the artist’s other paintings.
The colours are harmonious. At the top of the painting a large area of soft green tint has been applied smoothly, with a round brush, over much of the blue shade that had been painted as a background. This gives an effect of light, and an illusion of distance. The blue colour graduates downwards through adjacent colours on the colour wheel, (analogous colours), into the rich red-violet colours of the subject’s clothing. The clothing reflects the colour of her hair. The different coloured bands surrounding the base of the subject’s neck form part of her clothing and are very pronounced. The red-violet and yellow-gold colours interact favourably and excite the viewer’s senses.
The artist had a controlled hand, and a good sense of the topic when he painted In Prayer. Another painting My Prayer, a self-portrait, in this group, has been painted in a similar vein.
Acrylic on Masonite, date unknown. (Cleaned and framed.)