I’m risking a “same old, same old” reaction from my followers, but I really have no choice. Nudes are what I did this week, so we are stuck with it. I regret not getting photos of the others’ paintings as well, but that’s not what I’m thinking about at the close of a session when we are cleaning up, packing up, making arrangements for our next meeting. On Friday, our model continued the pose that you have already seen two weeks of, from every possible perspective. But today you get one of those perspectives from me.
As chance would have it, I grabbed a sheet of 16×20 canvas simply because it was handy, and I had only one session to produce something on it, so I knew I could not finish anything. But I should at least have got the proportions correct, and I see problems with that aspect. Nothing prevents me from working more on this painting at home (=studio) and bringing it closer to a state of completion/satisfaction. Whether I will feel like doing that is the question.
Our Sunday sessions are back. I took in a smaller canvas this time–12×16, same size as the successful one from the last two weeks, “Artists and Model“. 12×16 is a good size to work with, because I don’t have to use it all. I can carve an 11×14 painting out of a sheet that is 12×16. This time, however, I wanted all of the sixteen inches of available length and less of the width. So I carved away (not literally–I just drew a line) about 2 inches from one side. My composition was improved, but maybe I was just too lazy to contemplate filling the space behind the model. There were no artists on the other side for me to inspire me.
Because of my pruning, if this painting turns out to be a keeper, I will have to order a custom-sized frame for it. Pondering that result as I was painting away Sunday, I suddenly understood why so many of the masters’ paintings were odd-sized–not just 22 x 31, say, but 22 and 3/8 by 31 and 1/2. They must have cropped their paintings to achieve the optimum composition for each. For the Old Old Masters, the frame sizes were not standardized anyway.
Upon further reflection today, I realize what a handicap we modern, thrifty painters accept, those of us who strive to paint to a standard size frame. My very best frames come from a company that sells only standard sizes, and you have to buy of lot of them at one time. Their frames have “closed corners”, which means the frames are put together before the finish (gold leaf, e.g.) is applied. You won’t see a seam in the corners. The other kind of frame is “chop” or something like that, and on those frames the seams are discernible. When a painter reaches the level of selling for $50,000 a painting , he or she will order a custom, closed-corner frame and pay thousands of dollars per frame. I’m not there yet.
Aline Lotter is currently exhibiting:
at the Hatfield Gallery in Manchester (Langer Place, 55 S. Commercial St., Manchester, NH); at the Bartlett Inn in Bartlett; at the Red Jacket Inn in North Conway; at her law offices at 41 Brook St in Manchester; and at her studio by appointment.