I recently rephotographed this painting after having varnished it. The colors in this image are much closer to the real effect of the painting than I had achieved in earlier photographs.
This is my favorite of all the paintings I have made. It is the most effective combination of the elements that are most personally important to me stylistically: brilliant colors, an integrated tonal key that allows for glittering highlights, extreme selectivity, and self-assertively solid, 3-dimensional objects.
Apart from stylistic approach, it is also my favorite as a subject for two reasons: It presents a strong female character, which I love in all art, from Antigone to Dominique Francon, and it uses an iconography that goes way back in world art. The subject of the "bather" goes as far back as civilization itself, and I love works of art that take known forms like this one and do something new to them to give them a new expressive purpose.
Friday, October 21, 2016
This painting is a watercolor on paper (7" x 4 ½"). Though the setting is imaginary, the colors are based on studies done in Central Park at night (3 of which are posted below).
I think this painting is a fair demonstration of one of the pay-offs of color studies (a definition of which can be found in my post of May 15), which, in addition to being a crucial means of technical exercise, are also a fertile means of thinking on paper. The very act of laying colors down onto a surface initiates a chain of thought, which is accompanied and directed by words, but enacted by images, the goal, in this case at least, being the formation of a composition.
With fall coming on, I am posting the last of the outdoor color studies which were a personal assignment for the summer. The first five are watercolors on paper and were done in New York City parks.
The last two are oils on canvas and represent views of my neighborhood in Queens.
Friday, September 9, 2016
(India ink on panel, 8 ½" x 11")
This painting depicts a real staircase located in midtown Manhattan and is a study for a future oil painting. The impressive aspect of the design of this staircase is the stylized use of the hand railings to stress upward motion, which from any viewing angle leads to the climax of the skyscrapers above. What the architect achieved in structural terms, I can use (in the oil painting) for a somewhat different purpose and use the lines of the handrails as a kind of "lightning strike" visual cue, guiding the eye to a human figure at the top of the stairs. With that figure staring off into the sky at the buildings, and the buildings disappearing into the blinding light of the sun, I can create a nested chain of visual cues, leading inescapably from foreground to background.
I submitted this painting to the Shades of Gray drawing competition, a yearly contest for drawings done in black and white media.
Also, here is an edited version of an earlier painting called Night Light. I altered a confusing shadow on the figure's face and softened the lines of her hair. I think she is much prettier now.
Saturday, July 2, 2016
This summer I have been focusing on making color studies from nature. These are few oil sketches I made recently, plus 2 imaginary sunsets I made last summer. The degree of realism varies from sketch to sketch, but focusing only on the illusion of light, I think one can see the difference between working directly from nature and working from imagination.
Please see below for an earlier post on the subject of color studies, plus a link to an excellent short essay on the nature and purpose of color studies written by the sculptor Sandra Shaw.
Sunday, May 29, 2016
This is my new painting. It is titled Pilgrim
The limitations of photography make it difficult to reproduce the appearance of a painting satisfactorily. An artwork must be seen in person in order to be fully grasped in the manner that the artist intended. This painting is intended to be viewed both from afar and close up, and in both daylight and artificial light. I present here a variety of photographs focusing on different sections of the painting in different scales and in different lighting. I hope this will give the viewer some sense of the real experience.
Sunday, May 15, 2016
These are a few studies done in oil. They are not works of impressionism but are rather "color studies," a type of exercise which painters use both to plan compositions and, such as in this case, to exercise their capacity to capture the tonal key of a light setting by rendering the relative values of color in that setting.
Sandra Shaw, an artist whom I respect, states the purpose of color studies as such: "A brief sketch quickly executed heightens the artist's awareness of what he is looking at, and motivates him to commit to canvas the essential elements of the subject. By executing many color studies from nature, the artist learns to grasp the essentials of a subject and establish them as the foundation of his work."
(Link to Sandra Shaw's website)
(Link to Sandra Shaw's website)