Thursday, January 31, 2013


These three paintings, all 24" x 24", were begun several years ago, and each was given a single day’s work. They were studio starts, painted from the model, but all the settings were invented. Even the set-up for “Barbara In Her Studio” is a travesty. There was no window behind the model, and the curved couch was, in reality, a rectilinear pink bench.

After the initial session, the paintings sat unfinished until this month. They were taken up again as stop-gaps, to give me something to work on while I allowed two larger paintings time to dry. After a few days, the smaller paintings took over and became the focus of my attention.

Instead of a feeling of distance, the long stretch between initial image-making and revision led to a sense of continuity  for me. The paintings themselves make their own time.

The difference between the first and last version of “Barbara In Her Studio” is the difference between a portrait (albeit a clumsy start ) and the painting of a figure in an interior. The initial image does have more of the model’s personality, but the room surrounding her comes across as a framing device. What I wanted in the final painting was an expression of the figure from the setting itself.

Barbara In Her Studio-Version 1

"Barbara In Her Studio"-oil on canvas, 24" x 24"

Version 1 of  "Green Dress" and the final painting seem like two different species, but if you look closely, there are several intersecting points. The pose has shifted, but some elements remain in spirit; the raised arm is now the left arm, and the “Saturday Night Fever” stance has been translated into an after-the-dance drinking song. (Or maybe she’s just doing The Limbo). These two images reverse the process of “Barbara In Her Studio.” What started as a figure in an interior turns into a raw form of portraiture.

Green Dress-Version 1

"Green Dress"-oil on canvas, 24" x 24"

“ Nude Near Water” retained its dreamlike quality from first to last. In spite of the title, the setting remains ambiguous; wherever the chair is perched is as much a state of mind as it is a precarious space. The digital image doesn’t convey the thickness of the paint. Here, the color-shifts are meant to render emotionally correct flesh, in the figure as well as in the water’s skin.

I’ve spent a long time looking at this one, and though I’m done with it, it feels like I’m still painting it. It’s important to me to craft the object, but at another level I just want to remain there, in the process of painting.

Nude Near Water-Version 1

"Nude Near Water"-oil on canvas, 24" x 24"