Before I get into certain issues involving the EEE class, check out these pretty decent likenesses I achieved using charcoal on Mi-Tientes pastel paper. First, from the Friday life group, here is Rebecca.
I truly cannot count the number of times I have tried to do a portrait of Rebecca, with varying degrees of success. I posted a bunch of them in this blog (“A Month of Beckys”) about 7 months ago; over a year ago I included the very first one here in a blog titled simply “Becky”. Despite the annoying texture of the pastel paper (I chose the more highly textured side by mistake), the one I just completed is the best. That’s encouraging since it means I am still improving and have not yet hit my limit, if there is one.
My other likeness attempt came as part of the Saturday Life Group’s meeting. A popular male model whom we have not seen for many months was back in NH, and one pose gave me the opportunity to try for a likeness of his face. Looks pretty accurate to me, but I may be biased. Here are both of the longer poses from Saturday–the first one, as you will see, did not afford any view of the face–and I remembered to use the smoother side of the paper:
Drawing a man who is “ripped”, as they say, is a lot of fun, and just what we needed after so many months of rounded flesh.
Putting all that likeness stuff aside, we can get to the bigger issue: can Aline come up with a paintable abstract concept, and go on to paint it appealingly? Jury is still out, but hope has not stopped springing. The two that I am going to show you are both from the EEE class, of course. Thursday was our last class. Many of my classmates intend to take it again in the Spring. I, however, am putting my money on the Master Portrait Workshop with Dan Thompson and don’t feel I can afford the luxury of taking two courses in a single semester. But I stray from the main story: the EEE class adjourned halfway through our allotted time at the Institute to regroup at Bea’s place, to eat, drink, be merry, and critique each other’s works. First up was my now-familiar abstracted landscape evoking stained-glass windows and Monet. Patrick stood by his initial eval, but my classmates objected strenuously to the light-colored wedge, which they felt was distracting. Peter Clive was present as well, so I asked for his opinion. He advised repeating the wedge shape in the lower right corner. Classmates seemed happy with that solution. Therefore, on Sunday, after having endured a few restless nights trying to make sense of that advice, I dutifully inserted Wedge Minor into the masterpiece (please hear that with ironic inflection). This smaller echo remains as unexplained as the original Wedge Major. Fortunately, it being abstract, I didn’t have to justify it in terms of a representing a recognizable object. Most important, the new element has to blend into the scene as if it had always been there.
This is your first view of this piece as translated through my Nikon SLR, so this version looks better simply because of that. I had the devil of a time getting an image without glare inasmuch as I had ladled on the paint and parts of the painting will reflect glare no matter where you set up the light sources. My solution was to go with less light and increase “exposure” in the editing room. Details got lost, however. There are more of the red dots in the middle background, for instance.
My last EEE project, started Thursday after a lot of planning, is complicated. Shiao-Ping Wang presented a program at the recent meeting of the Manchester Artists Association, a program that I had, as program director, requested of her. “How do you translate an abstract concept into a work of art?” She showed us how she did it, explaining how her love of water became represented by a specific shape that she repeated in many inventive ways. A few days after that, I saw a call for art for an exhibit on the theme “Love”, to be juried by Eric Aho, an abstract landscape artist whom I admire. Here is a short video with Eric, which gives you an idea of what he does as an abstract landscape painter. Because of the juror and because of Shaio Ping, I decided to make an abstract painting for the show, based on something I love, namely, cats. And fur is what I particularly love about cats. Patrick had shown me years ago his painting of white chickens using a brayer instead of a brush. The breasts of those chickens looked unbelievably soft and downy. So what I intend to make is a painting about cats, using furriness as the symbol and perhaps deploying a brayer in my quest for irresistible texture. But yet another influence out of the Contemporary Gallery of the Currier Museum led me to plan a hidden image of a larger-than-life cat face in the background of my abstract, furry foreground. So far, I have completed only that background. I have to let it dry now, before attempting the more difficult task of layering on the furriness without totally obliterating the face.
(By the way, as the party was breaking up, Patrick told me that I had all of the other aspects of art making under control–I just needed more help with the conceptual aspects–advice that suggests I should reconsider my decision to take the portrait workshop instead of another dose of EEE. )
Aline Lotter is currently exhibiting:
at the Hatfield Gallery and the East Colony Fine Art Gallery in Manchester (both are in Langer Place, 55 S. Commercial St., Manchester, NH); at the Bartlett Inn in Bartlett; at the Red Jacket Inn in North Conway; at the law offices of Mesmer and Deleault at 41 Brook St in Manchester; in the Community Gallery at the Currier Gallery in Manchester; at the Manchester office of Congresswoman Carol Shea Porter; at the Studio 550 Art Center in Manchester NH, as part of the annual 6×6 show of the Womens Caucus for Art; and at her studio by appointment (email: firstname.lastname@example.org).