So, Sunday afternoon I gridded off a good sized sheet on an Arches block into eight smaller rectangles. Took my little plastic visualizer thing and materials outdoors and managed to reduce four outside vistas into 'almost abstract' little landscapes and just focused on color and light. Early afternoon's not the best time of day for that, but I liked the results. When it got a bit too breezy on the Point I headed indoors and did the same with semi-still life/semi-interior landscape views of the living room and kitchen. The fact that both rooms are strewn with the the remnants of my day to day existence (oh, to find another cleaning lady...anyone nearby know of one?) and my ability to adjust the lighting made those pretty interesting as well. I'll keep the eight quick sketches around and maybe build one of them into something abstract on canvas. (In retirement...no oils until then.)
Monday Night Drawing at ArtWorks in New Bedford is a highpoint of each week. Monday's model was Dana who has lustrous tresses of long brown curls that cascade over her shoulders or pull up into beautiful shapes on the top of her head. After a full sheet of ten overlapping three-minute sketches - these were very successful, I usually mess up at least three of the quick ones - we moved on to longer poses. With Dana I always focus on portraiture -her face and shoulders and hair are always intriguing - and finally, after studying those features regularly for going on three years, I've gotten some reasonable likenesses. Not anywhere near spot on, but I'm feeling better about them.
Tuesday night's a good painting night because there's not a thing on television that interests me...now John Irving's new novel on the table is a different story, but I managed to stay away from that as well. Anyway, Tuesday night I dabbled at five different paintings, large full sheet attempts at what I hope is a successful series that clearly works as a related group of paintings. I'm anxious to get some feedback and critique on these, but they're too big to scan easily without some extensive photo-shopping them back together, so for now...they're only words to the rest of the world. There's a bit of self-portraiture in each of them in an abstract sort of way.
Painting One: Mary's Red Hoop is based on an old photograph of a childhood friendship. It's a watery gray-toned wash illustrating a memory of two kids set in a somewhat faded landscape that contrasts with a bright red hula hoop and green-gridded Beaver Cleaver lawns.
Painting Two: Drowning has been built from a life painting of a face down male nude seeming to float in shallow water. Again, washy blues and purples and skin tones with the face-down head in the foreground contrasting again against a gridded background.
Painting Three: Portrait of the Artist as an (Old) Painter is based on mirrored portrait works by Goya and Fairfield Porter. In it I sit painting, reflected in the bottom right corner of a tall standing mirror while the model stands at the mirror. The model grasps the mirror's top and is seen in life and reflected images. Again, I've used brightly colored gridded blocks in and around the figures.
Painting Four: Beach Cottage represents a long-admired oceanfront cottage near Ogunquit/Moody beaches in Maine. Again using watery gray tones and faded imagery, it (hopefully) evokes long ago memories of summer beach excursions with my family. The blue gridded blocks work their way into the sky and negative space of the watercolor paper.
And Painting Five: Double Self-Portrait represents further work on the painting shown on the "In Progress" page of the website. I've used the gridded blocks as a means of creating some of the background images - washy gray small details that make the entire work seem more complete. I've also added detail to the figures and facial features.
So, that's the week so far and it's only Wednesday night. Putting these thoughts down on paper seems to finalize and formalize some of the painting process for me (and it gives me something to do while I pay one-quarter attention to American Idol - I'm going with Phillip). Now, I can approach tomorrow night with fresh eyes and, hopefully, bring a couple of these works to full fruition.
The artist's world is limitless. It can be found anywhere, far from where he lives or a few feet away. It is always on his doorstep. ~Paul Strand