Put on Your Red Dress, Baby is a 20x10 open studio oil by Shirley Fachilla.
When we set this pose in open studio, we asked the model to look toward the door as though she had just glimpsed someone entering. This instruction was inspired by Vermeer’s Girl with the Red Hat.
Actually, there is some question whether Vermeer’s figure is really a girl. It seems that 400 plus years ago, it would have been equally possible for a man to wear such a huge, feathered, red hat. And the face Vermeer painted appears neither definitely male nor female.
But girl or boy doesn’t matter. Vermeer captured a fleeting expression of amazed surprise where gender is beside the point. He managed to do it on a canvas slightly smaller than our standard 8x10 inch ones. He did it with fluid brushstrokes and subtle value changes. And he did it with both big and tiny touches of saturated color. There’s a minuscule dot of bright turquoise in the nearest eye and of course, the red of that amazing hat.
All I can say about my decidedly female figure is that the guy at the door better be ready to dance.