Monday, December 14, 2009

Iterations Of Isolation

A day of painting, an old neglected picture that has spent many months in ugly isolation. And lo! That suits the picture, which is about isolation spawning feelings of suicide, fear and ultimately fascist hatred. This is quite an old idea and I painted the underpainting months ago, and I'm certainly paying in pain for the three rushed days I spent on the grisaille. The detail level is very poor, and here is a note for any student; a detailed painting needs a detailed underpainting, and how much detail? As much as possible, for the best paintings are painted in one layer and that one layer should be an underpainting, if you desire to improve your "perfection".

Anyway, I've ignored and bemoaned this picture too often so I had made up my mind to finish it. The workload is immense though. Much of today was spent finely painting Caravaggian skulls in the sad green sky. This piture will be no masterpiece but I'll toy with it when I have the time.
Which is rare! Yesterday I was making soap which was an interesting experience. On Saturday I was in London delivering a painting for consideration by a jury for the Royal Society of British Artists.


Kathy said...

I'm impressed! This work is sophisticated, emotive, and architecturally strong. Your unique viewpoint comes through loud and clear in all your work, which is essential to originality and meaning. I've always admired Caravaggio, and your take on his skull distortion is great! Like you, I create a grisaille first and pay attention to details. Some argue that the underpainting shouldn't contain details, but I think that's up to the artist. Some aspects are better resolved before the color goes on. And ... you made soap! A man of many talents. Best of luck on your painting which is under consideration by the RSBA!

Julie Schuler said...

This is a completely salvageable piece, underpainting notwithstanding. I usually do a detailed drawing, crap up the underpainting, then end up using my drawing to finish, so what do I know?

Mark Sheeky said...

Many of the doodles (that's literally what they are) are to fill in flat areas in the composition that should have been addressed earlier. I prefer a highly detailed opaque underpainting and one transparent layer, or even many(!) but trying to model and smooth with this glaze is difficult. Still, it's amazing how much can be done. I bet that, if I finish it, it will look okay. It's not that it's salavagable, more like it's going to take longer than it should because of trying to speed through the earlier stages. This is an old lesson, because this picture is quite old. I've not painted many good pictures this year, but learned a lot as a result I think.

Thank you both for the vote of confidence.