Tuesday, October 30, 2012

My lady in . . . red (breathy voice)

I've changed my composition drastically. I've decided to make the fabric of her dress as part of the background that dissolves into other fabrics and patterns. The small figures and building just weren't working for me. I like that it will be less about a figure in space and more about creating an ambiguity of the presence of a figure. I also love to paint patterns ;) I'm hoping that it still reads like a figure first, and then lovely, lush swirling patterns and fabric.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

03: first hit

I've decided that I'm going to make a red painting . . . that happens to have this figure in it lol. This is from a photo of Le Moulin Rouge in Paris (2007) and other tourists are caught in the frame: I have no idea who these people are. The big figure has her eyes closed but I really liked how vibrant her red dress is (it has a lovely pattern on it . . . I like to paint patterns ;)). There are a few other figures in the painting who are going to act as counterpoints. Not sure what to do yet with the building in the back ground or the lightpost on the right side of the frame.
First hit
Three other paintings come to mind:
Edvard Munch

Mark Rothko

Henri Matisse

Assignment 03: the figure

For our third assignment, we are to make a painting that centers on a human figure. We will be using photos as reference (it's recommended that we do not use advertising photos because they are more challenging to make into a painting). The painting should not be a transcription of any one of the photos and should rely on observation and reference materials. We should also consider the inherent narrative and emotion that the presence of a figure brings into an image.
For an example, we talked briefly about Peter Doig. His paintings are imaginary environments but a figure tends to anchor the landscape, making it a breathable space.
Peter Doig

Marcel Dzama as a counterpoint to Doig.
Marcel Dzama

We discussed how the photographic reference should be the starting point of the image. Marlene Dumas uses images that are unflattering or voyeuristic. Because they form a fragmented narrative, the meaning of the image is left up to the viewer.
Marlene Dumas

We then talked about Lucien Freud and how his sculpted marks begin to create a "fleshiness" of paint. The constant laying down marks, scraping them off, and then placing them back on, lend the painting a certitude: this is wear the marks should go . . . here's the evidence.
Lucien Freud

Jenny Saville's work is similar in that the paint is used richly and "fleshily" except that the fragmented narrative of the image is heightened.
Jenny Saville

Luc Tuymans work is interesting in that its a series of negations . . . like there was an elaborate scene painted, and then pared back. This gives his work an emptiness that is rather unsettling.
Luc Tuymans

I want to approach this assignment building on the idea of making a painting with the figure as an excuse for the painting to happen. This one might be hard for me just because I have my own hang-ups about the figure.  Hopefully, I can leave them at the door and make an interesting painting.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Object Painting Results

He Tried to Contain Her (So She Flipped Her Lid), 40" by 40", oil on canvas, 2012

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Kill Cezanne?

How do I kill Cezanne? (metaphorically speaking of course!)
How do I take apart the house of Paint that he has built for me? What tools do I use to disassemble it and make my own house?
Take "The Bathers" and the Skype pics I took for my independent painting project . . . how do these two worlds fit? Do they fit? Why should I care about this old master? Why should I care to make paintings? Are the answers there in that painting? Is there nothing but questions to be asked?
The Bathers, Paul Cezanne, 1898

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

I love to paint

Hmm, my matroyshka dolls look like penises . . . might have to do something about that lol

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Assignment 02: "still life"

I put still life in quotes because this isn't a still life: this assignment is to make a painting based loosely on the objects we've chosen. I haven't thought about objects in this way before and I find it really exciting because it's opening up the possibilities of what representation can look like.
We started by talking about the boring, dead, and false idea of plenty that the Dutch still life school pioneered. When you take into account that the hens, fruits, and flowers they were painting would have decomposed beyond recognition before they finished the painting, you wonder about the authenticity of these so-called "real" paintings (art = artifice . . . when is it every, really, about the truth lol). Also, it's interesting to see the limitations of copying from a camera obscura in the out of whack perspectives and other technical problems said copying produced.
Abraham Mignon

Next we skipped ahead to Morandi who's work I enjoy. The idea of using "his bottles" as a method of working and an excuse for which a painting can be made is a potent one: interest in the banal. I also love the modernist bent with positive/negative relationships and greyscales! (I love greys!)
Giorgio Morandi

We skipped even further to Rosenquist (who is not necessarily a still life painter) who uses objects and fractured space to create layers of meaning.
James Rosenquist

A new (to me) artist is Neo Rauch. He creates a pseudo-narrative with his objects: how the objects relate to each other in the painting is what the painting is about.
Neo Rauch
What we are tasked to do with this assignment is to find ways to control the objects we've chosen so that we can create an interesting painting: not a still life!
First hit :)

Monday, October 1, 2012


I'm becoming more aware of the surface of the picture plane. You'd think I'd be all up on that, but it's one of those things like becoming aware of the edge of the piece of paper you've just made that mark on. I'm learning the properties of acrylic gesso and how it helps to make the stretched canvas tight, how it can make the surface smooth and velvety, and also how it can create a tooth for scumbling.
On Wednesday, we start our second painting assignment based on still life. I'm going to restrict the use of one of my major tools which is using traditional colours. So this means I may have to use the opposite colour than I would normally choose or do I choose in a stream of consciousness kind of fashion and see where that takes me? I do want to move beyond simply illustrating an idea into the realm of the image as a forum on which the painting unfolds so maybe I'll give that a try.
I'm going to use a 40" by 40" canvas which will make me work in terms of composition (which is what part of the assignment is about). It is also about spatial relationships, positive and negative spaces. And also meaning, both in the context of the painting and outside. I've never thought of still life objects on these terms before!
Somewhere in all this, I should get started on my independent painting. I'm thinking about making a self-portrait using skype images. I'd like to show these ephemeral images in an "eternal" format.