I'm happy to be full-steam-ahead in terms of the work I have to finish for this upcoming show in May. Soooooo much more work ahead of me! I am going to be putting some long nights in the studio for the rest of the month to get these out the door.
This painting is the largest I've ever attempted: 48x72 inches. It's pretty impressive when it's in front of you, but it's just large enough to be outside of the realm of transportation for myself. I'm treating it as a challenge to overcome; if I plan on doing more large work like this, (which I do) then I better figure out how to move these around.
These are all as-of-yet unnamed. I have naming ideas for them but I haven't decided on them for sure.
I'm exploring an idea of stripping away as much literal human form as I can while still being recognizable as figurative work. Where does it cross being a recognizable gesture and hits your brain on a more primal level? What reaction does it cause when you dance on that razor's edge? What if you go too far(if there is such a thing), and how do you anchor it to the world?
These questions are heady, yes I know, and they may not matter to non-artists, but I believe I have a way to make the average person care enough to look - more on that coming soon.
Some technical info in terms of process: These pieces all started the same way as the bottom pieces. I drew them out very sketchy and basically. Just a simple 2 value stark black and white statement. It has to work at that stage. I do work that part out in the reference building stage (and yes it's building. I take each photo as a piece of collage and really mess with them to make them into a picture I want to paint from.) From there I do a block-in of the lights with very minimal form modeling. I also painted some color fields on the right side of the piece to add some visual interest. This is now between the second and first stage. Once that part was dry, I took my black paint and came back over the lights to begin modelling the form. Once that's dry, I am going to really describe the form and flesh it out, literally.
This is a different approach than the other piece. Instead of going from darkest dark to lightest light, I went from dark to mid-tone. From there I slowly model the form and use mid-light tones to describe the form.
I'd like to know what your gut reaction to these. Any of these grab you more than the others? I'm trying to find the balance between what is recognizable in the figure and what is purely suggestive. What's the sweet spot for people in terms of illiciting an emotional response? I'm trying to answer that in these.
I'm purposely messing with the proportions on this one. I may even push them further to make sure people understand it to be pruposeful.
This one calls to mind some kind of Baroque angel writhing over the clouds in a Ruebens painting. Nothing should be taken as literally as that in these pieces - suggestion is the point.
I've noticed that so far the ones that people gravitate toward the most so far are the ones that have the most recognizable features.
I will try in the next steps to vary the process as much as I can as I build them to a finish.
This one I struggled with keeping loose and not locking into shapes too quickly. This one is by far the most abstract and I plan to keep it that way.