This week I have hardly painted at all. I’ve had three doctor appointments, several projects left over from when I was a tax lawyer (translation: I’m still preparing tax returns for old clients), and various minor household emergencies to deal with. Nevertheless, I do have something to put out there for your consideration.
I have been messing around with older paintings that never made the grade. On two of them, I painted an abstract landscape over, and inspired by, the painting underneath.
On yet another, which had failed to excite because it was a party scene with no people in it, I set about inventing people. Seems to me that I should be able to come up with a method for faking believable people in a loosely painted scene. I have looked at some of Sargent’s paintings of his friends logging about on picnics and such, and I observe that there are many spots in his paintings that are totally undefined. Sargent could paint loosely with confidence. I am thinking that if I start by just getting figures in the frame, I can worry about developing a confident style later, after I have the general technique down. This attempt is actually my third; several years ago when I was on my-bike-race-up-Mt-Washington kick, I included crowds of people in the backgrounds of two paintings. Both attempts were highly successful. Both were largely abstract. It should also be noted that I had photographic references for both. I am pleased to show you:
My son, the biker.
This, my third attempt, could not be abstract because the people are the foreground and the building in the background is pretty sharply delineated. The buildings started out as the focal point, and now I’m trying to plop these figures in front of it and have it come out looking kind of reasonable. I made up my mind that this exercise did not have to result in a successful painting.
I started with an ocherish color on my brush, and painted in silhouettes of plausible figures. I found it hard to invent animated gestures. Maybe that will get easier with practice. Then I painted other colors, representing clothes and hair, on the silhouettes. I threw in a few floppy hats and one striped striped. Here is the result:
I hate to admit this, but I also tinkered with a couple of paintings that I had deemed presentable enough to post on this blog as decent achievements. With the tinkering I have spoiled them. I would go back and restore what was obliterated, but I am afraid the paintings will never get back the freshness that made them so pleasing to begin with. What can I say? Lesson learned. Oh, you want to see? Here is the saddest one–I did have to fill in the background, which is what got me started with the tinkering. First the original posted version, then today’s:
All I can say is, thank God I didn’t touch the hair. But isn’t it curious that by toning down the natural redness of her cheek, chest and arms, I drained the life from her. Surely that is another important lesson: let the color chips fall where they will.
Aline Lotter is currently exhibiting:
At the Library Arts Center in Newport, NH; at the Bartlett Inn in Bartlett; at the Bernerhof Inn in Glen; at the Red Jacket Inn in North Conway; at the Firefly American Bistro on 22 Concord Street, Manchester; and at the law offices of Mesmer and Deleault at 41 Brook St in Manchester.
As usual, you may view paintings with prices and order prints, iPhone cases and the like at my Fine Art America page. If the painting you are interested in is not there, or if you prefer to bypass that experience, you may contact me by email to email@example.com.
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