Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Esther 2

For the month of July we had a new model, Esther, for our Saturday afternoon class at the National Academy.

During our first session I did a quick sketch of her in acrylic, using the broken colors that I've been experimenting with over the past several months.

For our second session I thought I'd try something new. I've been looking at AndrĂ© Schmucki and wanted to paint over a fairly realistic black and white image, just like a smeared photograph.

So I did a grisaille, but as I started layering the panels of color a different composition emerged. I felt as if I was looking at Esther through a stained glass window. I wanted to develop this idea further, but wasn't sure how.

Whenever I'm stuck with a painting I usually compare it online with images from other artists with a similar style, just to see what might need to be developed in my own work. In this case, I couldn't really think of anyone else who has tried to integrate geometric abstraction with realism so I had to work this out on my own:

Value - a gray scale showed a fairly readable dark/light/dark/light sequence. Check.

Composition - maybe I'm hallucinating but I thought I could see a pyramid? This would be good for organizing pattern and conveying stability.

Color balance - my choice of lavender, rust, and sky blue seemed totally arbitrary until I realized that I was picking up the colors of Esther's blouse and hair, and the backdrop, and redistributing these colors in an abstract manner. I've been taught to rotate a painting to see areas where colors might need to be added or removed for tonal balance:

I did the same thing in reverse:

Perhaps I've been looking at this image for too long but I still wasn't sure how to proceed. My instructor told me to leave it as is, and start a new one next week.

So I guess it's done. The painting got some nice comments on Flickr so maybe I'll try this grid-over-photo style again.

Dimensions: 12 x 12 inches
Medium: Acrylic on clayboard

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