Saturday, September 28, 2013

A Smaller Paradise

Small-scale work was the beginning for me, mostly landscapes painted outdoors. Over the years, my paintings have gotten larger (especially the studio canvases) and they seem to take everything I’ve got. In smaller work, I feel less pressure and greater control. Color becomes central. Form, and the forms of intent that manifest it, play a secondary part.

"Blue Structures"- acrylic on wood, 8" x 10"

The setting for figures can be a reinterpretation of the observed background. Alternately, the setting  can be a mood that acts like three-point perspective, moving the eye forward to the primary image.

"In Orange"-acrylic on paper, 11  1/2" x 9  1/2"

Figure and ground can also work as a unified architectural rhythm. In “Doreen, Yellow Chair,” my  main concern was to make the background emphasize the falling verticals that shape the figure.

"Doreen, Yellow Chair"-acrylic on wood, 7  1/4" x 6  3/4"

Painting outside is a constant education. The tilt of hills, the reversal of water as sky, and a thousand other incidents combine to demonstrate unity, not as a force, but as a language.

"Lagoon, Yellow Hillside"-acrylic on wood, 10" x 10"

After you accustom yourself to a small format, there's plenty of room in a 10-inch square for character and detail, without having to resort to tight rendering.  In “Doreen, Pleather Chair,” I tried to make the figure as solid as possible and still be non-photographic.

"Doreen, Pleather Chair"- acrylic on wood, 10" x 10"

In the painting “In White,” I was less concerned with contour than transparency. I wanted that watery quality  to carry  through skin, foliage and even the furniture. “In Orange,” the darkness shifts forward; here the light pushes toward the surface, helped by the original under-painting.

"In White"-acrylic on paper, 13" x 11"

With “Cowgirl,” the attitude evident in the clothes and posture is ( I hope) softened by the patterning of the background.  Again, the under-painted color is used to try to break down the barrier between the inside and outside of the forms.

"Cowgirl"-acrylic on paper, 9  3/4" x 6"

“Small Paradise” is an idyll that uses a combination of observed and remembered poses.  Sometimes painting is a fact and sometimes it’s a means of transportation. Here the intention is simple: whatever you see and remember can also be reconstructed as a paradise.

"Small Paradise"-acrylic on panel, 10" x 10"