Well here's the raw material for an acrylic piece. (of course its a piece in itself). This consists of the background wash applied in the studio, on the primered (gesso'd) canvas we brought. And the charcoal drawing of the model in one of its draft forms. Note the straight lines used to visualize and center the figure. Now, I should have started coloring in the body and giving the figure more 3 dimensionality, but I didn't for some reason. Probably because we got there late.
Still its a neat piece on it own. The random drips in the wash seperate the upper part of the body from the lower. Coincidently, the most detailed part is the upper, especially the model's head and left hand. This was an hispanic model, who, I think spent much of her time in Mexicon dancing for the Ballet Folklorico. She was also living in LA with her boyfriend, who was somehow employed by that troup.
This is not the same model, but the backgrounds and body styles are similar. Here, I had enough time to add the color, both to the model's body and to the areas behind her. She is an amalgam of oranges, pinks, lavendars, and blue. Th most extremely lit parts of her arms are in a stratlingly bright, very light flesh color without much modling. That draws attention to them, expecially from the corner of the viewer's eyes. Another feature is the dowdy sketchy treatment of the hair, which contrasts with the carefully drawn torso parts. And the large right hand over the bluish thigh.
I am happy with the effect of this piece. It kind of elbows you for attention, jabs you in the ribs, to consider this person and who she is and what she;s thinking. The overall effect is something of a circus side show kind of portait. A person singled out as odd.
Here's another piece with a figure I deliberately singled out as odd. Neither of these pieces probably had to do with the models or their actual appearance or attitude. Most likely, I was just in an phase, where everyone turned into circus freakshows. That's the joy of being an artist, at least part of your time. Being independent and beholden to no one. Not ordered to do something or think something.
Of course artists that succeed get trapped by their own admirers, sellers and buyers. They have less freedom, because their accumlation of things depends on satisying people who expect a certain kind of sensation, or attitude from their pieces. It becomes their "style", and can trap them creatively.
On the subject of circus, might as well add another piece with a figure I deliberately painted oddly. These 3 pieces are all, coincidently in Folder 17, which is the folder I am blogging on at the moment. You'll probably spot more of these in other pages here.
This piece is colored in the same pattern clowns call "motley". Probably left over from jesters in the middle ages, and furtherd by "Punch and Judy" puppet shows popular in Europe until about the end of World War II. Why did I think of this? I didn't, I was simply absorbing color schemes and patterns around me, and my husband, who is typing this, is trying to tell you where they might have come from.
Here's antother quick charcoal sketch. Again, its kind of manic, but not at all jagged and indecisive. Its almost one continual line from top to bottom, where you lift the charcoal to start the other side or a feature inside the torso of the model.
Here's a less sweeping set of charcoal lines, done with a harder, smaller charcoal stick. It appears more jittery and finiky, mainly because you cannot really sweep the drawing at arms lengh, but have to get closer to the pad and that makes shorter strokes. Still, this figure is impressively exaggerated, and all the aesthetics are there. Its also easier to preserve, since the harder charcoal doesn't leave as much dust and debris.
Here's Parker again. A more studied pose. I had time enough and was in the mood to make a more lifelike represtation. Note that the hands are almost natural, and the limbs and posture. However, this is not a naturalistic vision of Parker. Her expression is exaggerated, her hair simplified. The colors are, of course my own choice. Not what was there. This is a study of entirely and deliberately in reds, verging on oranges, purples, or pinks. There are at least a dozen variations, if you scan the canvas inch by inch.
I should call this one "Parker in Red", I guess.
Here's a couple figures in pink and orange also. But if you look closely, you'll see an odd light greenish blue, the color of some toothpastes. And a purplish cast to the hair. Onced again, the tenor of the painting is forms, for their own sake. Usually that means floating them across the surface somewhat pumped up, and weightless as balloons
This may be the dancer from ballet folklorical again. She is thoughtful here. Perhaps sad and blue (well certainly blue). Her physicality is de emphasized. The bold strokes of other figures are missing. The linework is as tentative as she feels. I have thrown a pinkish wash in front of her over the base to emphasize her expression and that darker thinking side of her body.
Coincidently, this may be the same model, on the front of the invitation to a show with Mary Hughes at 57 Underground. I don't have the back of the invitation, but I have a picture of our family at the opening. Cameron looks like he's about 8 to 10 years old. That puts it somewhere between 2009 and 2011.
This are tge last images in folder 17. On to folder 18 of 32.
Every painter at one time in their career does an iris. Here's my iris. They are confoundingly hard to paint if you're not copying them from someone who did them before. Of course I didn't think of that, but they came out fine, anyway. This is acutally a crowd of "Iri" of various length in a vase. None was dominent. None faced in any particular logical direction. All complete with leaves at the level of others' flowering parts. Given that, I think I got an untypical view of them, and am happy with my effort.
Here's a another drawing with a bit of Art Deco influence. The head in particular is the kind that shows up coming out of long limosines in car ads from the 1920's and early 30's. It was a time of maximum woman's liberation. (Well, not really, but they did get to vote during that era). Hollywood was full of highly paid and influential actresses, some of them producing movies and investing in studios. It was also a time of less censorship, and the magazine and movie glorification of "flappers" as equal players in the big city (usually on their way up, using every tool in their sexual arsenal.)
Here's a couple of figures, one with wind in her face, courtesy of the busy backdrop pattern. Lots of happy accidents happened on this canvas. I decided on lime or grass green, which gives the thing echos of an" idyl in the country" painting. That seems to turn to chaos as one of the figures is blown backwards. I am also suprised by the power of the glowing midriffs of the two. Some powerful force eminating. And a strange tenderness as one touches the other, to perhaps, reassure her.
Here's a couple more floating figures, in an almost repeating pattern. Beautiful and well observed renderings, that if you look closely, aren't as mirror image at all. One has a web between torso and right arm. Her head faces the viewer slightly more directly. The shoulder blades don't match either.
Looking down: whoa, the lower half of the left is definately faces the viewer, while the other's legs are turning away.
So much for first impressions...
Here I am at Mike's studio in full furious action. Well not furious maybe, but definately unaware of the camera. In the background, our son Cameron talking to someone. Looks like he's about 11 years old. Not a painter. RIght now, he's studing engineering and computer science at UCR.
(University of California at Riverside, a 10-20 minute drive, depending on the time of day)
Here's yet another piece, finished, from the dancer's project. This piece may have shown up earlier while not finished, or with parts of it as a sketch. Note the use of reflective (pearlescent) pigments in the background, and UV sensative orange paint on the lower left model (who looks a little like she's part horse).
Again, I was trying to give the viewer the perspective of looking up at it on a palace ceiling: somewhere in ancient Rome, Pompey or Hurculenium.
And this might be a servent girl from ancient Rome, washing and watching. Probably not.
Anyway its a nice piece, a deceptive piece that focuses on the model's attitude: which seems to be cynical, disdainful, and bored. Or I was, and projected it onto her face. She's wearing a knit cap, and I used a small, even piece of charcoal to re sketch her primary outline, which gives the whole figure a kind of doggedness, and solidity.
This is a piece that is mostly unsuccessful in so many ways. It tries to be a color field painting, but the colors have a listless sameness, The planes of color run together raggedly and fail to jell, especially on the left thigh. The model is not convincingly seperated from her background, which I guess is a chair. The only thing really going for the piece is the vase of flowers: beautifully observed and abstracted,
Here's Parker 4 times, accentuating her thin upper body and substantial hips. Its almost like an artists conversation: four quick takes fluidly mixed. The two center figures touch each other almost intimately. The two remaing stand back and watch.
The whole piece has a rhythm and has just as much impact out of the corner of the eyes. The colors compliment: blues and pinks, reds and oranges, and are really the only way you can delineate the figures. The charcoal outlines are almost invisible, and those that remain, provide a brief definition to only small parts of each.
This is as close as I can get in acrylics, to the instantaneous spirit of watercoloring.
This is the quarreling model duet piece. Both the same person, but different in degree of definition, and most definitly: attitude. It seems also certain that a lot of my attitude as well as body feeling seeped into this piece. The two figures have drastically different torsos. More than body orientation can explain. One is muscular and angry, the other is thin and kind of "caved in". Interestingly, their hands are equally strong and out of proportion, as if each was equally ready to fight or strangle the other.
Every human has similar personalities fighting it out inside them. The bolder, angry side and its opposite: the pensive and insecure side. The former is more primitive and reacts to emergancies. The later uses better judgement and is more in tune with the world.
The quality I caught in this figure is extraordinary, I think. Made of a very few cartoony lines, she radiates naivity, hope, and eagerness to talk. Pretty good for about a minute's observation and work.
End of folder 18 of 32. End of Page 7.