Friday, June 19, 2009

on the easel, eggplant brunch

I've something new on the easel.

As it often happens in my collaborative process with hubby Genna, he recently offered me up a batch of new underpaintings at which I turned up my nose, and now I'm eating all of my critical words. Genna makes my oil wash underpaintings only once a month or so, lots at a time. Two times ago, there came a whole set that seemed almost unbearably 'prime'...basic yellow, blue, and red.

On closer inspection, they're loaded with goodness. Lots of sublte, dark, shifting patches of purple and teal, punctuated with tasty little orange blobbies.

I put a big one on the easel on Thursday, 36" high and 60" wide. It's deeper and richer in tone than alot of what I've been working with lately. Several of Genna's recent 'batches' have been really crisp & tart. Here's the new piece at the beginning:

The image I chose for the new 3'x5' was this one:

I thought that the deep wash would work well in an image with lots of architecture & landscape...lighter on the figures. About a third of the way through, I was struck by how much I subconsiously pick up and use the colors of the underpainting. This far in, nearly every color I had applied was a nearly perfect match for a patch of underpainting. I can't remember ever having used that eggplant color before. Thus is the beauty of working with a partner! I never know what I'm going to get and what I'm going to do with it.

So now it's Saturday, and I'm wrapping it up. The last few hours tends to be spent in what would look like walking around drinking coffee to the untrained eye. I leave the room, positioning the piece so that it's visible from the hall. Then I wander from my desk to the computer (soduku and email) to the kitchen (coffee and peeks in the fridge), around and around, sneaking glances at the new piece out of the corner of my eye. It's important to sneak up on it so that I can see what it really looks like.

So, a few more subtle adjustments and this one should be finished and framed before we leave for DesMoines on Tuesday. She's "Poughkeepsie Brunch", oil on linen, 36" x 60"...

Oh, one more from the 'prime' set:

Gee's Bend Homage: Easy, oil on linen, 36" x 60"


  1. What a fascinating post, I had no idea how you and Genna collaborated. Very cool!
    Best of luck in Des Moines.

  2. Thanks for letting us into your process...I can't wait to learn more.

  3. saw you guys today (june 28) in des moines. in awe of your work and seamless collaboration.
    was really taken with "emerging". my husband & i have a photograph of us coming through a grove of trees, taken just after we were pronounced 'husband & wife'.
    your "emerging" is almost exactly how that photo looks. we're young & poor now, but i hope to own it one day!