I didn’t have to think too long before coming up with this week’s caption, “Jewel Tones”. Any buyer of women’s clothing knows what “jewel tones” means. It means, for the rest of you, saturated color. At least, it means that to me. I didn’t look it up. It’s one of those intuitive things, primarily enjoyed by women, which as it turns out is singularly appropriate this week. You’ll see.
My first example has the turquoise green, with which I drew my image so as to force some green into the skin tones. My second image depicts some actual jewels. And my third goes all the way out there in jewel-tone-land, and I love it best.
Girl on Green Drape is another study in my quest to find the colors of black (so-called) skin. My favorite part of this painting is her head, with perhaps the jewelry in close second place. One of my mates (in the Brit sense of chum) declared the cheek color “authentic” and the earring and necklace “unbelievable”, by which I think he meant, totally believable. I have been doing a pretty good job with heads lately, even as I focus all my discussion on skin tones. I have figured out that, when it comes to heads, less is more. The secret is placement. All you have to do is get a stroke of the right paint in the right place and voila, it looks like something! Leave it for a bit, then go back and analyze what will make it better, and apply that stroke. And so on. Until you can’t think of any way to make it better. So now everyone can go out and do it!
I finished the painting that I dreamed up for another WCA themed exhibit. I really racked the old bean for this one. Googled the theme, for starters. “Add Women and Stir.” It means, I gather, that getting women involved in politics and business and such will lead to world peace and a healthy environment. Good idea. However, you must have noticed that I am not disposed to paint ideas. Conceptual art, and what I call message art, just does not appeal to me. But I am a member of the WCA (Women’s Caucus for Art), actually on the Board of Directors, and I also like to participate in exhibits. It’s a stretch for me, so it’s a good thing. All stretching is good.
This will be the third concept piece I have done for the sake of a WCA exhibit. (For most other exhibits, I have been able to shoehorn existing paintings into the themes.) I painted the nude brown fairy in the Iris for “Flowers, Interpreted” (see it here) in order to sneak a nude into an exhibit–hard to do around here. I did “Starry, Starry Night” for “On Target” (which by the way was selected for a newspaper article on the show).
So here’s my entry into “Add Women and Stir”:
Do you get it? Old woman sighing over the hope represented by the button for the Equal Rights Amendment, which never did garner the requisite number of states to ratify it and make it part of the U.S. Constitution. She is going through her jewelry box (costume jewelry–but still in line with today’s jewelry theme), selecting pieces to give to her grandchild (probably a girl, but maybe not), and comes across that old ERA button.
Last month I was despairing over this piece, and thought I might have to start over. Revisit my wailing here, where I argue that regardless of outcome, no painting is a waste of time. But instead I painted out the parts I didn’t like and found some photographic references online to guide me in the repainting of those parts. Does the old woman look like Queen Elizabeth to you? I devoutly hope not.
The “Add Women and Stir” exhibit is going to be juried by Sarah Chafee of the McGowan Gallery in Concord, even though the exhibit itself is headed to the Newport Public Library. (Usually somebody affiliated with the exhibit site juries the entries.) Notwithstanding all the agony of producing this painting for this exhibit, it might not be accepted. Will I feel stupid? A little, but it’s a risk I took on willingly, for the sake of a project that stretched me. As I said before, nothing is a waste of time.
My final jewel today is from yesterday, still so wet that the camera caught glints of light all over the place. I started removing them one by one with my iPhoto blemish removal tool, but it was too tedious. You will be able to respond to the jewel tones anyway.
With this painting I felt for the first time as if I had got beyond the fretting over black skin tones and had just painted. I stopped being literal. It’s probably a truism, but you start this artistic journey by being literal, by trying to replicate exactly what you see. Somewhere along the way, you let reality go and paint what you feel, smell, taste as well. Maybe even hearing comes into it, since we play music during our sessions with the model. Amy Winehouse yesterday– I’m catching up with the current music scene, thanks to my fellow artists. Followed by Eric Satie. I couldn’t say which one wrought the bigger influence on this painting. It must be the combination: Winehouse-Satie. Not quite as impressive as a Joplin-Satie combo would have been, but right up there.
Aline Lotter is currently exhibiting:
at the Hatfield Gallery in Manchester; at the Bartlett Inn in Bartlett; at the Red Jacket Inn in North Conway; at the Epsom Public Library in Epsom; at the Bedford Public Library, in Bedford; at the law offices at 41 Brook St in Manchester; and at her studio by appointment.