Saturday, March 31, 2007

I'm very excited about this piece. It is based on a photo from the New York Times by Chester Higgins Jr. about an Ihop in Harlem and the big crowds that it draws on Sundays. Accompanying the article was a photograph of two ladies; I fell in love. They looked like two of the figures from my "Maenads" grown old, yet retaining their inimitable sense of style. It took a full week of drawing to rework the photo into a painting. I nabbed some condiments from the local diner (the waitress still gives me funny looks when I go in there now) got out my stash of diner china and set up the still life elements in my studio (the photo doesn't include the still life)

It took me a week of drawing to get all the sketches I needed. I hate to have to stop and work out drawing questions when I am painting so my recipe is this: solve as many problems as possible ahead of time, post the drawings by the easel for reference; paint freely.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Figure drawing last night; here are a few of the results.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

This is post is part of what seems to be spring cleaning on this blog - an admittedly incongruous metaphor for a post about a winter moonlight! A few posts back I posted an image of this painting in a half-finished state with no comment along with an image of the half-finished "Maenads" which were also on the easel at the time. Aware that legions of people have gone to bed each night ever since asking themselves the question "What became of that painting???" I thought I had better finish the story.
The story of the moonlight is that it used to be a winter sunset. I did the sunset some years ago. It was an okay painting, I liked it, but it didn't sell and after making the rounds of my galleries it eventually came home to roost on my walls. I should explain that I have an uncomfortable relationship with my own paintings: I love them, but I'm critical of them. Fortunately, most of my paintings are sold, or at least away at a gallery, so I actually have very little of my own work around. What is here is mostly very old work from the period after my student days (I didn't sell a lot then) The best of the oldies get saved to remind me of my youth and to give me all sorts of ego-supporting feelings such as "wow, how talented and sensitive I was, but just think how much better I am today" The ones that fail to deliver that message get stashed in a closet and eventually scraped down so the canvas can be reused (that stuff costs money) And then there are the in-betweens, paintings that aren't that old but have somehow failed to sell. These are good enough to hang on the wall, but once they are there they irritate me: I look at them and see how much better they could be until inevitably I repaint them. Which is all by way of saying that one day I looked at the winter landscape and said - "that would be so much better as a moonlight".
So what I have here is the original winter sunset, an in-between state as I started to repaint it and the finished painting as it is today "Winter Moonlight"

Monday, March 26, 2007

When I saw my friend Gabrielle at our life drawing group the other week she came up to me privately and with a look of gentle concern said "Elizabeth, are you alright? I've been checking your blog and I don't see any new work, so I was worried that you aren't painting" That's Gabrielle: the soul of gentle concern and also someone who knows that if I'm not painting than something is really, really wrong. Before you take out your pocket handkerchiefs, be assured, as I told her, that I am perfectly fine and have been painting up a storm, it's just that I have been involved with a computer project that has taken up all the time I have to sit in front of a computer each day (two hours, tops) In fact I put myself on a blog diet until I finished the damn thing. Well, today I learned how foolish that attitude was and I'm back to my blog despite the fact that the computer project from hell isn't even close to finished.
I didn't know exactly how to jump back in, but I thought this image of what I call my "work board" would be a good starting point. This is where I tack up working sketches for figure paintings and if you look closely (hint: double-click the image) you might be able to tell that I have three of them going at the moment (and a seascape too, but it doesn't need a drawing)