Tuesday, December 1, 2009

I made it into the studio today after all

Wouldn'tcha know it?  This morning I woke up and couldn't WAIT to get into the studio to paint!  Yesterday I had the whole afternoon available and could barely force myself to stay in there.  I'm so contrary sometimes!  I only had til 10 to paint this AM since I had to go to work, so I focused on just the hands.  I noticed this evening that they got too purple, but I think the form is much better as is the contrast.  They look more accurate as hands.  After I complained to a friend how difficult the hands were to paint, she said, mocking what she figured I would say from now on, "OK, you can model for me, but no hands, no feet, no joints!"  They are certainly the hard parts to paint.  If you look carefully at the hands, consider how many individual passages there are to paint, how many lines, shadows, indentations, furrows, mounds, knuckles, fingernails.  When I get in close and try to nail it, it's like painting an abstract painting, trying to make sense of the most illogical parts.  For example, consider the picture here.  That's part of her hand.  I know exactly what part since I've painted it, but can you tell?  It really does get abstract at this level.

I can well understand how Chuck Close began doing his huge paintings that are just colors within a grid. (This image is one of his.) Chuck Close Within each square is an abstract pattern or sometimes just a color, but together they create a cohesive whole.  The pieces are generally 6' or larger.  The Virginia Museum owns one if you're ever there and get a chance to see it.  He considers value (light vs dark) even more than color when he is painting the squares.  I've found that if the value is right, then the rest of it reads accurately even if the color is bizarre.  Here's something he wrote which relates to what I'm talking about with just painting values and furrows, etc.:

Artists...see both the device that
makes the illusion and the illusion
itself. I'm as interested in the
distribution of marks on a flat
surface...as I am with the thing
that ultimately gets depicted...
[It's] shifting from one to the
other that really interests me."

Chuck Close

Tomorrow I don't tutor until 11:30.  Maybe I'll make it into the studio again.  Such a treat!

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