These are the first two reproductions I have shown you that were photographed with the new lighting system, i.e. two identical light banks on either side of the actual drawing. These are better. Perfect reproduction of an original is impossible. Nothing can be identical to the real thing, no matter how much technology is used to take the photo, and no matter how much energy is put into digital manipulation of the resulting photo.
I am trying to break myself down and find my essentialness. Yesterday's drawings are a step in that direction. Yes, I am going to finish the most recent painting, Untitled Triptych-08·13·2014. But I am restless. I need to explore at the same time I am finishing Untitled Triptych-08·13·2014, even though that painting now looks to me dated and in the past. Being an artist is seldom a peaceful occupation.
I was not full of introspective energy yesterday. So, in the studio I just did what came easy. I did not spend a large amount of time doing it. I had other tasks to perform. I did those other tasks first. This left me with just enough time and energy to do this drawing.
I am glad I write this blog and post the current version of my painting. I am glad because Untitled Triptych-08·13·2014 looks good here.
Yesterday, in the studio, I was feeling the inadequacy I often feel when a work is close to conclusion. It is the "what if?" feeling. What if I had approached this painting differently? Could I have made it a better painting? Would I feel that the painting more comprehensively represented me? In any case, it is what it is. I want to move on. After my efforts to get this painting right I know so much more. I'd like to use my newfound knowledge! However, this painting, Untitled Triptych-08·13·2014, is not finished. The left panel is better than the day before, as is the entirety of the composition. Now, all details must be revisited. The question about each must be answered: "Is each detail sufficient to adequately drive the painting?" Today I am not in the studio, so the answers will have to wait.
Yesterday's drawing was my pedantic manner of exploring the emotional nuances of the human face. Now and then I practice these nuances for no other reason than to delve into what I know and question its effectiveness. Such was yesterday's drawing. It is no star.
The composition of Untitled Triptych-08·13·2014 is almost complete. Yesterday I worked, mostly, on the woman in the right panel. The small table in the central panel (with the vase) also got another look. Today I must grapple with the man in the left panel. Looking here, I think his head has to be more vertical, creating a straight line through the center of his body. I need to create a tilted axis running through his head to between his feet, around which the left panel will visually rotate.
Yesterday's drawing looks better in person than the reproduction here. In this photograph it was not evenly lit. The result is an incongruity in value. Consequently, today's post shows heads darker, relative to the their bodies, than in the original. I am soon replacing one of the light banks I use to photograph the drawings. This will help better reproduce the drawings. Both sides of the drawings will then have identical light sources. I'll let you know when the new light bank arrives (probably late next week). We can evaluate the result together.
P.S. Remember to click on the images. This enlarges them for better viewing.
First to yesterday's drawing: It went through a lot of changes during its two hours of process. The man's head was made first, and it remained as part of the drawing for ever so long. But it did not work. As in the drawing I posted yesterday, this man's head seemed to be on backwards, so I altered it. It changed from looking forward, toward the viewer, to sideways, away from the woman. That was not the lone, late change. Today's title refers to the removal of his male parts. They, like the head, were not appropriate to this drawing. Sorry, Michelangelo.
Big changes occurred in the painting too! Untitled Triptych-08·13·2014 took on a new shadow in the right panel, also smaller heads for the man and the woman in the left and right panels. The heads, obviously, are unfinished. I will work on them today. Most exciting to me is the increase in visual animation created by yesterday's changes. This thing is coming along in its 29th state! Oh, the drapery in the central panel also changed.
Every now and then I get so involved in the emotional impact of a work in process that I do not remember to properly check its anatomy. Is this good or bad? I am unsure. I believe the emotional impact should trump all other concerns. It is the emotional impact that secures the viewer's interest, and, after all, is the conduit to my personal expression. I am writing about the problems with the man's anatomy in the drawing reproduced below (from two days ago; I did not post yesterday). For some reason I wanted to depict the man from behind. He is looking up, with his scapulas in stress. It doesn't work properly because the neck begins too far down the back. I feel I could easily reverse him, making his back into his front by simply changing the scapulas to pectoral muscles (his hands and arms would have to be reversed too). I am not going to do it. I'm going to move on. BTW: I like the floating woman. I am especially pleased by her head, feet, tummy, and hands.
The right panel of the painting Untitled Triptych-08·13·2014 now plays well with the left panel. That done, I will now move onto refinements to the heads and the hands (i.e., the details).
Yesterday's activity of painting brought me way back to 1991. At that point in my career I was an abstract painter, making what I called "3D Abstractions" (see one of those paintings below the reproductions of yesterday's work). Well, yesterday, while painting, I remembered that sensation of applying light on canvas as I struggled to make three-dimensional forms. It happened in the left panel of Untitled Triptych-08·13·2014, where the artifice of the walls I was creating must appear authentically 3D, forcing this character into his alcove. In Untitled Triptych-08·13·2014 I am in the somewhat tedious part of its journey. Subtle changes are occurring, each making the painting better. Day by day, change by change, I will bring this thing to finality (despite a wish to move on to a new painting). For instance, looking at today's reproduction, I believe the wall behind the woman in the right panel must now be subtly alter in order to balance that right panel with the one on the left. What I perceive here is not always true. The truth occurs only when standing in front of the actual work. However, I do find my reproductions here extremely informative. My reaction to them is often true upon return to physically standing in front of the real thing.
Yesterday's drawing was interesting in its unusualness.
The journey of Untitled Triptych-08·13·2014 has been a long one (now in its 26th state!). I have had to be patient, waiting for its entirety to make sense. It is doing that now. At last I can see a finish coming. I am actually restless. This extended process, taking well over a month, is holding me here. I want to take the next step. I have stretched up a new, much smaller, single panel canvas. That is where I am going for my next painting. I am not complaining. I am stating my quality of restive, jitteriness. I want to move on. At the same time I know it is important for me to give all I have to give to where I am now.
I took a day away on Saturday and returned to the studio in a bit of a fuzz. The result is my transition drawing, which brought me back to the reality of the studio. The drawing is unusual for me. Surprisingly, it pleases me.
Why do I feel these things? I see problems and possible solutions, but I am not simply happy. immediately upon viewing today's reproduction of the painting Untitled Triptych-08·13·2014 I see a problem, and it glares at me. The left panel is not reacting as well as it might; it should play better with the other two panels. The left panels is too upright. I believe it requires a rotational structure to animate it, and contrast it, with the other two panels. Funny it seems, because the lines on the back wall of the left panel instigate a rotation. However, those lines complete nothing. Do I know the solution? No! But I know the problem, and that's a beginning. Writing this informs me of a fundamental concern of mine: compositional animation and balance. Its importance is rearing it head. But there is much more to me than that. Look at yesterday's drawing. I continue my efforts to scrape the surface of the human face in my quest of subtle emotional expression. I couldn't make this stuff up. It is primal. I know not where my concerns originate.
Looking is better than writing (or reading) today. So I will leave you now, anxious as I am to get into the studio (after yesterday's day away). I will leave you with images made two days ago. Things are working, so back I go...
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