New work

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Here is the first work from my studio this year. You can see the preliminary drawing of it here.

After some discussion I have titled it Red Plaid Jacket. It is oil on canvas and 20×30” which makes the head about one and a half-life size.

Red Plaid Jacket Dante

I conceived of the work last summer as a piece which would embody some of my developing ideas about painting. Like many artists I think all the time about the purpose of visual art and its role in our culture, and because of my own creativity I think mostly of painting and drawing.    I am particularly interested in the capacity for painting and drawing to evoke states of being that go beyond simple communicating ideas when people spend time with work.  This isn’t any kind of news that visual art works in this way but I am considering what if this is the most important way that it works, the most valuable thing about it- that beyond the representational image, there are things that emanate from a painting that cause a resonance with the viewer or environment around it.

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So in this work, through colour, composition texture and image I was making a piece that would emanate peace. As for the “picture”, it is an archetypal image of a sacred greeting so that the viewer is being looked at with reverence and is part of a peaceful and sacred moment. While painting I was focused on creating atmosphere of beauty through the materials-colour and texture-and order in the composition.  I was very aware of making a most honest and simple painting that literally offers peace.

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Many thanks to my daughter Dante who was the perfect model and the work is available through Jarvis Hall Fine Art (link to the right).

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Here are just a couple of progress shots including the gridded drawing under all of the paint.

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I really enjoyed the scale of the piece and would really love to explore this aspect on commissioned portraits for those interested.

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That’s all for now and thank you for reading!!

Progress continued

IPGOver the past few weeks I’ve been sharing my process of developing a major portrait. I’ve composed a reference to work from, drawn out a study and finished the preliminary drawing on the board the painting is done on. After all of this work  I finally began to apply the oil paint this week. This stage is always a little different for me. Sometimes I will do washes over the entire image with thin colour to paint into, sometimes I will do an entire rough painting in black, white and greys. I can only say that it depends on my mood and the mood of the painting because each method gives a different feeling to the act of painting. This time I am making a thickly painted and very developed first layer. Because this composition has a very architectural setting I want a gestural method of brushwork and a rich visual texture to the final work.  The challenge will be to keep the freshness of this first paint through subsequent layers of refinement that is needed to develop the portrait.

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I began with the architectural details and the space behind the figure so that I can have a physical sense of place and setting established while I am painting on the figure. I enjoy very much the sense of illusion in the work while I paint and use its development as a guide to measure when the piece is finished.

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I am using only cold wax medium in the paint or sometimes brushed onto the board first as a layer to paint into.

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By next Friday I should have the entire board covered in this first layer of paint.

 

Thanks for reading and see you next week!