I’m continuing to explore the practice of repainting.
On one hand, I don’t like not producing new work, but on the other, I am learning valuable lessons through realizing past mistakes. What I am finding is that with some of my work, I’ve been hasty in certain areas, neglecting attentive brushwork by rushing to finish the peripheral canvas. I still like an unfinished appearance, but I do not like it to look as sloppy as some pieces I’ve noticed. Thankfully, work that has sold has had my full attention. I think this is important to acknowledge. There is certainly a more pristine energy in the work that I’ve been completely attentive to during the process.
In this piece, I found something to be lacking in the way of tone and value in the skin. There was not enough value range to express the form of the model. I think that the photo of the painting shows it better than the original, but it can still be seen here: there are several areas where she appears flat, like a cardboard cut-out. The lighting accounts for this somewhat, but it is still not an excuse on my part.
Also, much of the jewelry had the same problem. It was handled without enough attention. Plain white was used too liberally, so that the jewelry looked fake.
This happens in certain areas of the clothing. The clothing is minimal, of course, but it is all the more important to ensure it is done correctly.
The surrounding paintwork: I’ve loved this approach in some paintings, where it gives to a feeling of movement, however in this piece, I felt it was stagnant and limited.
After getting involved again in this piece, I found more details that I hadn’t totally noticed before, such as the strong black line of tassle down the left thigh. With the help of my highly observant wife, I realized that this piece needed to be broken up. A strong contrast like this demands so much attention, making it either a perfect focal point or an observational cul-de-sac.
When looking at a painting for the second time, it’s important to reconsider the point of the piece. With this one, I felt the same way but found that I didn’t express what the pose and colors provoked in me. For me, in this painting, I see something deific. It could be one of the countless hindu goddesses. So, I renamed it as well. From “Queen of the Surface Streets” (taken from a lovely song by Devotchka), it is now “Subterranean Venus”. (I may still change it again, but it’s definitely closer now)
For the final piece, you can see a different brush-handling in the background. I’ve been exploring this broken brush work, mixing it with the loose broad strokes. This involves more palette knife work and layering of complimenting colors. My aim with this is to give not only more texture for interest sake, but more depth by contrasting with the smoothed finish of other areas. I am still exploring this. There will more on this in the future. For now, I know that I desperately enjoy it.
“Subterranean Venus” is on the list for whichever gallery I find next for my figurative work that doesn’t “fit” into the Boulder, CO. gallery. I must say though that much of this re-exploration of my work has been prompted by helpful criticisms from the SmithKlein gallery curator, Nathan SmithKlein. Thanks to him, I have realized the need for more value range.
One more thing, as far as re-working paintings, I believe the importance of it lies most in how the new pieces are handled. Already, in a couple landscapes and studies, I’m realizing a more refined skill that is coming more naturally.