Friday, March 27, 2009

"Laura, (natural)"

“Art is contemplation. It is the pleasure of the mind which searches into nature and which there divines the spirit of which Nature herself is animated.”~Auguste Rodin

"Laura, (natural)", 2009, oil on panel, 11"x 14" is a quiet little study of light and how it plays upon skin. It is a study of contemplation, and an exercise in simplicity.
Laura has great eyes, and I wanted to try to capture their full reflection here. There is a limited palette, which is intentional. I am working on another little painting the same size to sort of work as a pair with this piece, a compliment to it I suppose. 
This painting is filled with natural light. I simplified the background by omitting Laura's shower, which was distracting to the composition. Her bathroom is a very neutral, muted grey-green colour, which worked well against her skin tones. 

In my painting I try to emphasize brushwork.. This is probably why wood panel appeals to is wonderfully unforgiving, and leaves the brush and paint to do their job, unobstructed by the give that can happen when you paint on canvas.
There is a weave to canvas that I always see beneath the paint. I don't paint very thickly usually, nor do I gesso until the weave is gone, so the underlying canvas usually it can be detected upon close inspection. Panel solves this problem and while sometimes the texture of the gesso can be seen, the paint has fewer places to hide. Some artists render their work in a very fine manner, with blending on canvas, scumbling, hatching or otherwise reducing the visibility of the brush strokes. This is fine and beautiful and I enjoy looking at paintings rendered this way, but half the fun for me is capturing something from a planar perspective. It is hard because you don't want to make something look too blocky, too stilted and cold. It is a paradox isn't it? To paint something simply and with a rather chunky application yet to try to convey the softness of flesh at the same time. 

What is she thinking about? As usual I do not provide answers...because really, we all have an answer within ourselves. It is all relative. I was talking with a friend awhile ago too about how as we look upon paintings at different times, the connotation changes according to our circumstances, what is happening within our own lives at that time. 

I am on my tenth painting for the Newfoundland show, which I have provided details about below. In a way it as though I am experiencing the journey for a second time, revisiting these special people I met, and the gorgeous places I went. I can see why Newfoundland casts a spell over people. Incidentally, Newfoundland And Labrador's official tourism website has linked to my blog. I have provided the link here. I was quite touched that they deemed my writing worthy of inclusion on their site. 

Here is some information on the exhibition in November of 2009. I hope to see you there!

Newfoundland Portraits
November 5-22nd, 2009
Abbozzo Gallery, Oakville, Ontario
Opening Reception November 6th, 7-10pm

“The ultimate value of life depends upon awareness and the power of contemplation rather than upon mere survival.”~Aristotle

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