This was a simplification project for my Project and Portfolio 1 class. The idea was to take a well known painting and simplify it as much as possible while keeping it recognizable. I chose to recreate Johannes Vermeer’s Girl with a Pearl Earring.
I found, during my research, that this painting had been chosen for this project at least once by a previous student. So, the real challenge was to recreate it in a different way. The obvious focal point of the piece is the earring itself. If you can keep the basic silhouette of the girl, and highlight the pearl, you’ve produced a recognizable piece. The student before me had chosen to brighten the blues and golds in the painting and create a flat, faceless silhouette with the only detail being the pearl itself.
As I continued to research the painting, I found that there is quite a bit of mystery surrounding the identity of the girl. So, I thought I wanted to make her face a focal point equal to the pearl without just adding the detail back in there and taking it out everywhere else. The result was that I emphasized the shape of the girl’s face as well as her lips, kept the colors very close to the original hues, and added some flat shadowing.
My instructor suggested that maybe I could have added more shadowing, and that is something that I considered during production. I even tried adding a few more and ultimately removed them again. I’m still on the fence about whether more shadowing would have enhanced or diminished the results of the final piece.