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When I first saw the Maiden in Contemplation online I was really taken by its softness and stillness. I did not know anything about the artist, Gaston la Touche (1854 – 1913) and must admit I still don’t. Sometimes I don’t feel the need to dive into research. Sometimes a picture is more than enough. 

And often enough I paint my own paintings without much thought for the concept. I just follow my gut and head for beauty and my mind is only taken up with aesthetic considerations such as colour and composition. In this case I stayed obviously close to my inspirational source for the design. I used a Spanish Blonde lace, a continuous silk lace very popular in the early 19th century. For my painting I wanted to focus all attention on the material, the transparency and the shine. I therefore left the girl’s face and hat a bit underworked. It contrasts with the high detail of the lace shawl. I left the girl’s arm and short blue sleeve of her tshirt, slightly visible nder the lace to highlight the thin nature of the fabric. I tried to maintain the beautiful stillness of the La Touche piece into my own painting. It is a large painting, at 48×24”.

Gaston la Touché, Maiden in contemplation, 1893

The Blonde Lace shawl used for my painting.

Detail of The Shawl

The Shawl, oil on linen, ​122x61cm/24x48”, Available

About the author

Sophie is an artist, art historian, tutor, author and blogger. She writes on oil and pastel painting, art history and the life of an artist. She paints portraits and still life and specialises in painting drapery and lace.

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