Monthly Archives: November 2013
The picture above is the original photo, a rather stern look. Then I added a somewhat smiling look in the lighter part of the face (middle photo). The darker eye is still the same. Then (top) I added a twisted half mouth (disgust?) and finally a somewhat concerned or troubled forehead, photo in the previous blog post. Needless to say, I am working in Photoshop.
Below is the painting of the combination man / woman. I am now adding some layers of varnish to create softness and yellow touch, as well as glossiness to the surface. However, this work may need an explanation and therefore I am a bit unsure of how it will work. Maybe I have to abandon this project? Trial and error?
The photo below is a new painting I have started. It is a combination brother and sister. I am building it up in a totally different way and I don’t know where it will take me. As I said above, I am losing a bit of faith in this project, so it may just become a simple exercise in painting, better enjoy it while I can…? In a way I kind of like it as it is right now, but it is better up close than at a distance, so I may have to do something more.
Adding depth and character to the face that does not exist. Or does it?
Is this simply a painting practice? Not art? I really don’t know. Maybe I should start on a new version of the same face? It would, no doubt, turn out differently. I am glancing through the book Secret Knowledge by David Hockney, where he has carefully studied the old masters (Caravaggio, Rembrandt, and many others) and analyzed their works in order to find proof of them using optical techniques to enable them to paint with a touch of photo realism long before photography was invented. Then came Cezanne, Picasso, Warhol and others who changed the scene entirely. So, while I am studying art history I am also making my own practices and experiments with the purpose of learning more about myself and art history. I have had a feeling for some time, that too much technical virtuoso stands in the way of profound art experience. But then it can also bridge over to a moving and emotional “WOW” when virtuoso sort of blows your mind… makes sense? I suppose the way I look at art is just as unique and individual as I am… right now in this moment. I never care too much about what art historians and theoretical experts say when they analyze the meaning and purposes of a specific artist, but when David Hockney sits down to think, study, and test the possible techniques of the old masters I am listening, because he is a great artist and painter who knows the lonely pain and process of creating art.
Well, in my case, I want to work towards virtuoso and then just “step on it”, throw it away, in order to reach something else. Is this what Picasso did in a time when it was unheard of? Is that the true reason for his unique place in art history? I have never been a Picasso fan (yet), but in this context, I am more interested in learning about his contribution to art and humanity. There is so much to learn, so little time.
Detail of the piece, a close up, much closer than the naked eye can really see. I am most pleased with the gold earring. It will take some guts to step on that detail, so I guess I have to question my own ideas and purposes. Maybe the act of stepping on my own art is to hide my lack of technical virtuoso? But in order to create a good piece of art, that courage is required. That is my simple conclusion at the moment. Basta!
Below the entire piece as it looks as I am writing this. Soon it will be different.
We needed a table for our couch after the move to the studio. It has been sitting in the back of my head for some time, but as usual, nothing happens as long as you don’t start sketching, working, trying ideas. I was toying with the idea of using the Divine Proportion, which I have used for quite a few of my paintings in the past. So I took some of my paintings and tried them next to the couch to find a suitable size. That led to the idea to simply use one of the paintings as a table. All I had to do was to build a stand. I built a prototype out of plywood (what else?) and this is something that Lucas maybe can weld and build of steel someday… 96 x 60 x 44 cm. I am very pleased. If we want the painting on the wall, we can simply remove it and hang it on the wall again. I coated the painting with floor varnish, which I often do anyways, to make it more durable. The colors match the couch and the cushions really well!
Meanwhile I have been working on a number of photos of people I have painted in the past. I have combined faces of couples, brother and sister, father and son, and have “built” faces that really do not exist. This has become a fascinating study of similarities yet differences and the subtle uniqueness about our faces and us as individuals. Even in the same face there are so many small differences in expressions, most of them disappear within fractions of seconds and pass unnoticed, at least to our conscious observation, but maybe they convey moods, truths and lies, feelings, etc. that we can snap up in another person and “blame” it on intuition when we read another person’s state of mind. So, yesterday I started painting one of these “constructed” faces. I am working in relatively small scale, 30 x 25 cm. I thoroughly enjoyed the process of painting and will let this piece dry before I continue. I have a few “almost real” faces to work on.
Last but not least: yesterday I bought threes songs by the Seattle based group Secretary! Check iTunes or www.secretaryband.com. Proud to say that Andrea’s sister Em and her husband Craig are the founding band members! I can’t wait for more music to become available from them!
I have now finished and signed (on the back) eight Variations. Each piece is painted on a 12 mm thick plywood board, 20 x 15 cm. The sides are cut at a 15 degree angle. As always with my art it is almost impossible to take photos that show the play between matte and glossy surfaces, the texture of the wood grain, the brush strokes, etcetera, but with this light I was able to at least show some of the “unique-ness” about each piece. To me each brush stroke and each grain of wood is like a finger print, unique and impossible to duplicate. Just like we are as individuals, each and every moment. More about that later. (I am working on a pretty cool project right now.)
Mom came and sat a third time. Theoretically I could blame the result on her talking a lot while I painted, but that is kind of lame. The good thing is I am learning a lot. Traditionally many portraits are of a person sitting in some kind of passive, waiting mode. Maybe this is one reason why Lucian Freuds paintings are more interesting. His models are sitting, lying down, standing and variations of this. It is hard to go very very close as I sometimes like to do. And it is hard to capture a specific expression. Well, to put it plainly – it is hard. Very difficult, as clearly demonstrated by the image below. It will be a few weeks before I get another chance to work with this portrait, which may be good. I am normally extremely self critical when I am working on a piece and in order to find some qualities in this work I may need to put it aside for a while. But in its limited state, I have to say it is definitely my mother. When looking at it up close it is better. From a distance I don’t like it at all.