Well, this is the start of folder 7.
We did not have a good close up of this piece, so here's a shot of it on exhibiton. Its a model whose name escapes me at the moment. She was raised in Venture County by a single mother. She is racially part caucasian from her mother and part black. He mother essentially left her to raise herself, she said. She seemed relaxed, very pragmatic and composed. When we first painted her, she was trying to get a foothold in Los Angeles anywhere at all, and was staying at houses of acquaintences she met in the art community. There are several pieces I made of her, but this one is probably the best. Just recently we saw her once again, she is now well established with an apartment in a good neighborhood and was drawing models now herself. She is still the same relaxed, low key girl. It occurred to me to paint a sunflower behind her, so I did.
This is a cermic sculpture by Maria Leon. That's me in the foreground at my easel, painting at Mike Dommermuth's studio. You can evern see the drawing and color I was using.
We own one of her complex sculptural ceramics that portrays both my husband and myself drawing, as well as the model. It is fired but lacks glaze, which actually allows more detail to come through. It must weigh at least 30 pounds and sits on a bookshelf which bends a little under it's weight.
Will try to get an image of that one for this blog.
This is a younger model, painted during my "pink phase", which is also a "realistic phase". There are quite a few like this from about the same time. Don't know that I was falling into a rut, or not. What's particuarly nice is the definintion of the head and hair. The hair especially is drawn back into a ballerina-lilke bun, and the viewer can really feel, in combination with her hand gesture, how tight it is.
I'm also pround of the casual modeling of the hands and feet.
This is another of those color field paintings, where I was especially concerned with the folds of cloth, and the bands of color values up and down the body of the model. The modeling of detail in her body and facial features is pushed back in order to emphasize the effect of light on the various surfaces of her, and of her pillow, or blanket.
The effect is a calming, and subterranian glow. She is now made of light, and not detail. In a certain sense, we all are.
Another painting of Simone. This one emphasizes "Simone the practical". She is alert and restless. The banding along her arms reinforces this. She has galleries to contact and needs to pay for gas. That kind of thing. There is actually a complex set of colors used to create this piece. Note suggestions of the burnished Simone in the reflections off her left shin and forearm. Also a slightly different color light reflected off her neck and left thigh. The banded orange of her left side is repeated by her right side breast. Otherwise the right side of her body is darker, and in greater shadow. But it also sports two patches of very bright red, which gives that side equal but darker "hum".
This is another piece that combines odd color values with reflection. I took two postions to draw the model, spending time on both sides of her. The two sides are subtilly different in color and mood. and the model isn't really mirrored: the two sides are turning away from each other. One side seems more innocent than the other. That's the left side. The right side seems more uncomfortable. Notice the right arm straining to keep the body's position correct. The right figure was probably painted later in the afternoon. That explains the yellow-orange cast on the cheek and forehead. She's tired and grumpy and ready to go home.
This is a triplet: three different set ups. Doable because I decided not to deal with the heads. There wasn't time to do a complete coloring of any one postion. The idea was to suggest some value for each, which gives them indiviuality and some seperate emotional content. The one on the right is more abstract. More picasso like. The other two are rounded. The middle figure is the most sollid and weell observed: you can feel her weight and the gravity pushing and pulling on her position. The right figure is exactly in the same postion as the left, but darker in cast, rounder, and more complete
Another triplet: now with complete heads. There sMhere is a term in computer programming that concerns itself with the "truthiness" of a value. That means its some place holder that doesn't have a value yet, but it telling the truth about the state of its yet to be defined value. The triplet consists of a blatently blank, generic and unrevealing face on the righthand figure, a totally believable person in the middle, with a misunderstood body, and a better understood body on the left, with a better understood face. Together they make a total human person.
And so the painting works.
I I always seem to hold back the last figure in a folder, for last, because I can't really understand why we chose to publish it. This is a mess of a painting with the head out of proportion to the body, but the whole piece is not really symbolic of anything.
Yet there's something to be said for the intent exression on her face. She has a human face, acutely observed, attached to a generic body in an awkward pose. Like the some new species of superhero with the monstrous body of a robot.
Oh well, on to folder 8.
Folder 8 of 32. When this folder is done, we're a quarter way through my paintings and drawings to date.
This is one of the pieces of the dance series I was talking about earlier. A lot of energy was put into this, a lot of studies. The idea was to create larger and more crowded patterns of figures with the same free-form short pose charcoal drawings feel. But studies have to be blown up, and the free form part became tracing the blurry figures on a large scale in the dark. Harder than I thought. Will put one of the briefest of the studies below. Have shown a couple of more complicated studies earlier.
This has got to be Simone, but I drew fast and then slapped on watercolor, and mythic properties emerged that have nothing to do with her.
What I drew, without thinking about it, was some kind of a pig deity.
Something more suited to south seas islanders, whose noble class was comprised of the biggest humans because their islands were periodically raked clean of fruiting plants by powerful hurricanes, so only the fattest could reasonably survive and reproduce. The Japanese have a similar tradition with sumo wrestlers.
Heres our model from Ventura again. This is my "gold background period", which I probably overdid. There was this incredible pearlescent or ultra violet sensative color that was termed an orange, but was golder than paints called "gold" (which depended on brass shavings). As you can see.
Again we have a mythic edge, from the gold, and from the stature of the model who I painted as a couple of giantesses: the viewer's viewpoint looking up at them. Again the underpainting and its textures peep out from their bodies giving the a kind of "cosmis" presence.
Heres another from that gold background series. This is an hispanic model doubled. Each looks the other in the eye. The one on the right is clearly dominant, and the left listens to her. I'm astonished at the intimacy in that simple interacton.
Heres another quick pose watercolor. There's lways some kind of ancient Grecian Urn effect with these watercolors.
Heres a pose from Parker, doubled, in the "pink phase". Blues, greens, and violets. The greens and blues look almost ultraviolet.
Heres another doubled model. "pink phase". One side is innocent, the other side wary and world weary.
Here's a very complicated model with her real shadow. The real shadow seems slightly menacing and empty minded. Not nearly as human as the one who cast it.
This is about as sensual as a model can get under my brush. The concentraton on her head and large eyes yeilds to an uncharacteristic straight on view of her body. With a strategic leg, of course.
End of Page 3, end of Folder 8 of 32.