Speaking figuratively . . .

is a lot easier than drawing figuratively.  And painting figuratively, especially without the coverup advantage that clothing provides, is hardest of all.  I admit that I am torturing that adverb “figuratively” –pretending that it can be substituted for the phrase “about the figure” in one sense and for the phrase “of the figure” in the other two examples.  I don’t make a lot of use of puns,so I figure (there’s that word again0–definitely no pun intended), I’m entitled to a little wordplay.  In face, half the fun of blogging is finding ways to make plays on works.

But figurativity is relevant.  This week, the subject is figures.  Beautiful figures in reality.  And paintings and drawings  that aspire to be beautiful in their own right.

My experimental palette knife work carried over into this palette-knifed figure study:

Girl in Brown Recliner

This painting is the output from one of our Sunday morning sessions.  Don’t you love the chair?  I do, but have to admit it looks better in person (in the painting itself).  I will get another crack at this model and pose, but instead of trying to correct errors in this one, I will start over with a new painting or drawing.  Paint that has been ladled onto the canvas with a palette knife just is not conducive to being overpainted.  Case in point: last week’s portrait, which I declared cooked after that session ended.  I would never try to add another layer of paint to that.  My first palette knifed portrait was not as heavily impasto’d, so I was able to rework  most areas.  (Both of those portraits can be seen in last week’s blog.)

Here’s another palette knifed portrait, but it’s also a little riské, so it fits in my theme for this week:

How Demure is She?

“Demure” is another one of my contest entries on Fine Art America, wherein I am given a photo of which to make a painting.  Because of the restrictions placed upon my use of the photo, I can’t reproduce it for you.  You will just have to trust me when I say that you would recognize this woman as the same one in the photograph, despite the radical colors and rough knife strokes I have adopted.  Or you can go online to Fine Art America and check out the current contest for “painting from photographs”.

I am kind of pleased with the ways I am finding to depart from the literalness of the subject matter without sacrificing the rigor of getting the essential elements right.

Not that I always get them right.  Au contraire.  Last Saturday I came away from our Saturday life drawing sessions with a couple of drawings that I felt good about.  This one, however, no longer looks good to me:

Reclining Woman

Through the fresh eye of the camera, I can now see that her head is way too big for her body.  I think of some deKoonings, Picassos etc. and ponder, so what?  They drew people with diminished bodies, and no one claims that they didn’t know how to draw.  Hmm.  Well, let’s move on:


The arms on this figure got crumpled up somehow, but I still like the overall look of the thing.  It’s so . . . Degas.  Mind you, I am not all that admiring of Degas’ drawings, so this is not necessarily a self pat on my back.

Faring a lot better is this multi-colored drawing, which some of my fellow artists begged me not to touch after the first model break (20 minutes into the pose).  I continued working on it anyway, but not in any significant way.  I worked on the drape, clarified some values, things like that:

Seated Woman in Color

With an extra five minutes left for the pose, I sketched this head of the model:

Five-Minute Head

As you might have deduced, had you thought about it, our Saturday models come top-lit.  The light streams down from an overhead skylight, at least when the sun is shining.

OK, here are some guy drawings that I saved up from last month:

Seated Man


The composition of this one is interesting, and if his hand is a little too big, that’s better than being too small.  Our guy models use those poles a lot–not only do they give the model something to handle but they also give the model a place to rest his/her hand/arm, so as to provide more variety in the pose.  I also use the pole as a check of my  placement of limbs; if the angle of the pole is correct, the body parts have to come together with the pole in the correct way or I have got something wrong.  (Same model, same pole were featured in my mid-January blog titled “Why is this Man Digging a Hole in the Nude?”  Still a good question but now you know the answer.)

I suspect that I have written way too much tonight, but can’t trust my judgment.  It is  late, and I am  tired.  My usually upbeat Monday was discombobulated by the discovery that we had been burglarized; my desk, in particular, had been “tossed”.  My losses were not catastrophic, but still, it put me off my stride.   And Monday being Bridge Night, contains no slack.  (The cards were kind to me, which certainly helped put me in a better frame of mind.)

One last item of interest:


A pop up art exhibit will appear at the White Birch Brewing Company in  Hooksett NH Friday (5 to 7 p.m.) and Saturday (noon to 5 p.m.) this week.  April 13-14.  Food for the Friday night reception will be provided by cooking students from nearby Southern NH University.  Don’t sit this Friday the Thirteenth out, huddled in  your closet.  I believe a tour of the brewery with beer tastings can also be expected.  Whoo’ee!

Oh, yes,  I am participating.   I haven’t picked all the pieces that I will be exhibiting (and selling) yet, so if you have one you’d like to see there, let me know.  The theme is “New Hampshire Proud” but only one piece is required to represent that theme.  If you Google the theme, you will find elegantly composed publicity for this event. Support your local artist and your local brewery at the same time as enjoying food from your local  univeraity.  Doesn’t get much better, right?

Aline Lotter is currently exhibiting:

at the Gallery at 100 Market Street in Portsmouth; at the Sage Gallery in Manchester; at the Hatfield Gallery in Manchester; at the Bartlett Inn in Bartlett; at the Red Jacket Inn in North Conway; and at her studio by appointment.  AND, for two days only, April 13-14, at the White Birch Brewery in Hooksett, NH.

Link to website: www.paintingsbyaline.com

6 responses to “Speaking figuratively . . .

  1. Very nice, literally and figuratively!
    Where’re your Sunday morning sessions? The recliner looks ilke Adrienne’s