Monday, February 18, 2013

Gayle, acrylic on canvas

Currently on view at the Museum of Modern Art's Inventing Abstraction show is FrantiĊĦek Kupka's haunting portrait, Mme Kupka dans les verticales (Mme Kupka Among the Verticals).

Kupka reworked an unfinished painting of his wife with prismatic strokes of color, eventually obliterating the figure except for the face near the top of the canvas.

Kupka's image must have been on my mind over the past three weeks as I worked on another acrylic painting of a new model, Gayle, who posed for us at the National Academy. Gayle had a calm, quiet presence that seemed to call for a stable compositional device, perhaps a vertical grid of sorts that would convey her rootedness, with shifting light to suggest her flickering, enigmatic expression and interiority.

My painting turned out to be far more realistic than Kupka's but I tried to retain some of his abstract qualities. I simplified the colors to blue and rose and attempted to repeat the shape of the head in the blurred edges of the torso.

I think it might be done, though Gayle will be back for one more session for touch ups.