Friday, November 30, 2012

"Purple Skirt" : The Evolution Of An Image

The source for “Purple Skirt” was first a sketchbook drawing  and then a 10” x 8” acrylic study. The awkward, intricate geometry of the image continued to hold my interest; but it took several years to get back to it, to extend it into a larger and, hopefully, more complex  painting.

Version 4, as purely flat as it is, sets the basic composition. Here I leaned heavily on contrasts between the Venetian red gesso and the ochre and yellow in the figure and window-frame. This was the basic-research part of the painting.

Purple Skirt-4

Version 7 was a start on the ambiguous and atmospheric quality of the final painting, especially the treatment of the head.

Purple Skirt-7

I could have continued in the direction the painting took in version 9. Here the weight and posture of the figure fall in a natural manner.  I had to leave these attributes aside in order to get the surface quality that became my central concern.

Purple Skirt-9

In version 10, the lemon yellow of the couch-back gave me an idea of how to build the color. I eliminated the yellow in later versions (there ended up being a dozen more variations), but I did keep the paint-handling the color had suggested.

Purple Skirt-10

When I was done with version 12, I had most of the basic elements in place, but a long, hard slog was necessary to reach the finish-line.

Purple Skirt-12

The final painting has the kind of surface physicality that I’m fixated on. It’s what I’ve been calling, "saturated transparency," for lack of a better term. I hope I can carry it through to future paintings.

"Purple Skirt"-oil on canvas,  36" x 36

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