Remastering an Old Painting – Art of Repainting

Matt Abraxas

Feather Boa Skirt – 2009

I painted this over a year ago.  When I saw it on the gallery wall, I felt at once that this was a piece I had rushed to call finished.  Nate, the curator of Smith Klein Gallery, said he liked it but was sure that there was a problem with the legs, perhaps the knees.

The painting was filed away in my studio until recently.  I made a quick study of the piece and found that much more than the knees were not working, but the whole piece was full of pockets of distracting qualities.

I wanted more texture in the pillows and the blanket.  I achieved this with a mix of horizontal and vertical brushstrokes and palette knife work, and my fingers.  Some elements of the body were reworked: the legs entirely and the face.  I had my wife, the model, pose once again, which led me to a very important lesson:

in working from photographs, it is much too easy to overlook important obstacles until it’s too late.  I now work from both photograph and life studies.  The face in this piece presented so many obstacles that I simply did not realize when taking the pictures.

But now, I am very confident in the painting as a piece representing my level of skill.

Matt Abraxas

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