Tuesday, July 7, 2009

variations on a theme

I have been a professional painter, working within the same basic thematic parameters for the last dozen or so years. While I am constantly looking for new found photos to treat as paintings, there are a handful of images I have returned to over an over during this time. I've come to think of these as 'touchstones' for me...familiar compositions within which I can concentrate purely on new techniques or palettes.

I was looking through the 'archived' (read: sold) painting files on my computer today and decided to visit one of my 'touchstone' lines all the way back. Wow. I can't believe how much my work has changed. I suppose it's like watching your children grow. Each day they're a little bigger, so you don't notice so much until you see a picture of them 5 years before, or maybe try to put on their winter shoes from the year before.
Here are some of my "Communion After Confirmation" paintings, in roughly chronological order, oldest first.

I believe the first one was made around 1999? The most recent was just made withing the last two months (she is the still available "Dinner on the Grounds", oil on linen, 24" x 30", $900!). Genna's participation kicked in around #5.
As you can see, there is a huge stylistic shift between #'s three and four. I think the main reason for that is that I changed from sketching with paint and a brush to sketching with charcoal, allowing for a much more accurate and angular drawing.

Working with Genna also brought on another big change in my working habits as I went from creating texture and interest with brushwork to 'harnessing' the visual texture already there with the busier underlayers. My technique has become much crisper and cleaner overall.

There are techniques in the earlier works I sometimes wish to have back, but I suppose it makes better sense to look ahead to what's next. "Communion After Confirmation" 2015 will likely be a much different animal!