This painting started with a drawing from the model. During that session photographs were taken, and a second drawing was made from one of them . With these sources in hand, I began the work in paint.
Version 2 is not much more than a crude contour. By version 4, the weight of the pose is clearer as is the emotional distance of the figure. Even so, the color and surface of the painting remain rudimentary.
In version 6, most of the compositional elements of the painting are in place. I generally start with a strong color, either in gesso or oil, but this one began with a standard white canvas. For a while I thought I might keep the white dress, but I found it difficult to develop the rest of the color. I was drawn to the bluish-purple here as a better counterpoint to the skin tones.
Version 13 went as far as I could travel into the Land of the Decal. At this point the flatness became claustrophobic. The surface quality, though actually thicker than it appears in the digital image, seemed slippery-slick. The eye doesn’t find a place to rest in this one and the movement isn’t circular; it’s side-to-side, top-to-bottom and off the edge.
In order to go forward, an important step back was taken in version 15. I had to undo many of the complicated and unsatisfying solutions I’d come to in #13 and lose what I could have called a finished painting. Some paintings don’t seem to need this kind of sharp U- turn, but here it turned out to be the right choice.
The final painting includes evidence of all the wrong moves that led up to it. If I did manage to develop a depth of space, it’s in the simplified but still coalescing face. For me, it’s like a sculpture of smoke-- which, as energy-forms, we just might be.
|"Triangle Pose"-oil on canvas, 48" x 48"|