Title Contest Winner:
With many excellent suggestions for a title, I finally settled on Volupté, a French word for sensuality or pleasure. Suggested by Bren Brown who is an artist from New Zealand. Her work can be viewed here: www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1009806277
Buy the Prints:
Volupté is now available for print at www.redbubble.com/people/mattabraxas in a variety of sizes and quality. Bren has received one for suggesting the title, and so has Deb Rubin and Scott Belding. Deb Rubin, the dancer of this painting is a world famous tribal belly dancer; more info can be found here: www.sattyabody.com. Scott Belding is a magnificent photographer who took the pictures of Deb Rubin that I used to make this painting. More about him here: www.scottbeldingphotography.com.
The gallery window response-
Beautifully framed, I brought Volupté to the gallery in Boulder, CO. with pride. I especially enjoyed walking down the busy sidewalk full of happy hour patrons with the large painting in my arms, listening to the trail of compliments behind me. I’m not ashamed to bask in positive feedback now and then.
After a couple days in the gallery front window, however, SmithKlein’s curator, Debbie SmithKlein informed me that a few people were curious if the shadow on the face was not too dark. She asked how I felt about touching up the painting. I’m not offended by this sort of thing, at least not when I can see the point. I know that the lighting is correct on the painting, but I agree it does look quite dark. This can easily happen when painting from photography. There are many instances in photography we take for granted that don’t allow the same suspension of disbelief in a painting. I’ll be touching up the original painting slightly, but the prints still work great. I’ve seen one already and am quite proud of it.
Working with a gallery, I think it is important to be open to feedback. They are hearing the response from potential collectors that I don’t hear in my studio or from comments on the internet. Facebook is great for collecting lots of “Likes,” and it’s indispensable for it’s power of networking, but it still won’t compare to people who are actually looking for a new painting in their house. I listen eagerly for the feedback I receive from any gallery.
That said, I also take in consideration where the gallery is and the average patron submitting his/her feedback. Another gallery with an even greater reputation and higher-priced stock may have no issue with the shadows on a face or whatever. The important thing is to not take offense to the feedback. Art is a nebulous entity that fits every person a little differently.
On the Side:
Torn shoulder ligaments has caused me to paint a bit differently in the past couple weeks. Thankfully, I can still paint, but it hurts to take my time, so I’m aiming at more quickly sketched pieces. The important thing here is to paint smart, not fast. A deliberate economy of brushstrokes. I’ve completed one piece I’ll post later and then for my birthday on the 25th of March, I painted this brief 1 hour study. Here, I did push myself to work more quickly than usual. I may go back and fix the one enlarged eye, but as this is only a sketch for myself, I may also leave the mistake. Sometimes, the mistakes turn out to be the character the painting would otherwise be missing.