Saturday, March 20, 2010

back in the saddle

Finally...finally today I had the stamina to get in a full day of painting. I don't know how long this is for other artists, but for me its around four hours. That sounds kind of wimpy when I say it out loud, don't tell my parents.

So, I'm pleased to report that I was able to reconnoiter my 'fig tree confidential' diptych to my satisfaction. As I mentioned in my last post, I thought I was finished with the diptych on Friday but was not happy with the results.

The layering process that Genna and I use doesn't allow for a lot of 'adjustments'. If I lay down an image and it doesn't work, I generally have to re-gesso the canvas and start over. Foggy as I was, I didn't think to photograph my 'disappointment diptych', so here's the verbal gist: I booh-boohed the composition by making up a bunch of shapes in the left hand piece to mirror the forms in the right hand corner of the right hand panel. It was super boring. The beauty of the inspiration photo was in the dramatic amorphous mass of leaves behind the couples.

I considered scrapping the left hand panel altogether and finishing off the right one as an independent work, but Genna suggested 're-underpainting' the background of the left piece and going again. So that's what I did. Here it is re-underpainted,

And here it is completely finished:

I hope I've done Mr. Buchanan's original image justice. My homage is "Fig Tree Diptych", two panels each 36" square oil on linen framed in black, $3500.

Friday, March 19, 2010

fig tree confidential, panel 2

I went to the doctor yesterday for the first time in about 12 years. It was nearly as fun as I remembered. They gave me a steroid shot and a z-pack scrip (which seems to be the treatment for just about everything anymore) and today I would say I'm back up to about 60% of myself. Such a relief after wandering around at about a 30 for a week!

But enough about me, you're here for the 'amish sexy' diptych update, right?

Here are the two underpainted panels, each 36" square linen:

That right hand panel is actually an "underpainting's underpainting". It's the acrylic wash step before Genna adds the oil wash layer. I liked it so much at this stage I snuck in and took it from his studio before he could take it any further.

Here if you click it and look closely I think you can see the drawing:

And then here is the progression of the right hand panel:

I actually finished the left hand panel today, put them together, and said 'bummer'. I think I have the solution figured out but don't want to show you until I fix it! Maybe Monday.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

amish-y sexy

Hi all. After a week long struggle with a nasty chest cold, I'm kinda sorta halfway back in the studio. My energy level is around a 5, but I'm level 10 excited about my newest project.

I'm embarking on my third diptych which I'm calling 'Amish Sexy Diptych' in my mind but will actually probably be "Fig Tree Diptych". The inspiration image shown above is from the fabulous book "The Picture Man", edited by my friend and fellow artist Ann Hawthorne. Ann is a talented and much respected photographer who researched and then befriended NC itinerant photographer Paul Buchanan before his death. She obtained permission to reprint his beautiful photos from their original negatives and has put together a stunning book and several traveling exhibitions with the results. Mr. Buchanan traveled throughout rural North Carolina from the 1920's through the early '50s photographing locals for a little money or for barter. While they were not meant at the time to be art photos, their art is undeniable.

Anywho. I find this particular image wonderfully sensual. It's two embracing couples, but they're also posed in front of this mass of fig leaves, mimicing their entwined arms. I google image searched 'fig leaves' and all kinds of sexy stuff popped up...twisted branches and leaves, cut figs (ahem.), naked statue's covered up privates, and for some reason a bunch of ladies in lingerie. But these folks are dressed from head to toe, so 'amish sexy'.

If I can hold it together for a few more hours today, hopefully I'll have the progession of the right hand work for you tommorrow. I wonder why I always start with the right one?

Wednesday, March 3, 2010


Here we are with the unified diptych. Yay! The process of bringing the two images together consisted of 2 days of wandering around the studio staring at them and maybe an hour of actually working on the canvases. I've posted the 90% finished works paired together below so that you can see the differences.

Basically, I simplied some of the shapes in the left hand bushes, carried a little of the buttery yellow over to the right hand piece and brightened the lower right shape on the right hand piece to help 'hold up' that side of the composition.

I'm tickeled with how this came out. I think it shares the spirit of the first "Main Street Diptych" while bringing its own new goodies to the table.

I forgot to mention the original inspiration for this work, which will hopefully become a new series. In collecting old pics, I often run across sets that are obviously taken one right after the other (a daughter holds the camera to shoot Mom and Dad, then Mom does the same for father and daughter). I love studying these little pairs and seeing how much the overall flow, rhythm, and spirit of a scene can change from one moment to the next. This set (image posted below) had a shift in perspective from one to the other. It's also sort of like those picture puzzles in kid's magazines where you have to find the 12 things that are different. I love that.

I know I'm talking too much and most of you have already given up, but one more quick client related reading these posts to watching a surrogate carrying her soon to be born twins. Isn't that the best?

Monday, March 1, 2010

diptych left

So, here is the progression of the left hand panel of the new diptych. For those of you who have no idea what I'm talking about, see Saturday's post!

Today I will be 'reconcilling' the two works into their final, paired composition. Look out for the finished project Wednesday at the latest.

"Main Street Dipytch" panel one, 90% complete.