April 20, 2012

A New Painting: "Right Angle"

 Right Angle, egg tempera on calfskin parchment, 6 1/8 x 7 in.


I am back to a frontal image after the receding diagonal space of my last painting, Twin Uprights, which I saw as a detour on my road forward. Thinking about my previous painting, I remembered that my teacher Philip Pearlstein, many years ago, told me that I had an architectonic sensibility, and he was right. Any time I've attempted more painterly work it is unsuccessful. I find great satisfaction in clear and forceful compositions, based mainly on horizontals and verticals, with diagonals and curves thrown in for variety and balance. Does it make the paintings too severe? without warmth? I'm sure some would think so, but I love the minimalist quality of them.


 Right Angle, detail


The space in this part of the painting was ambiguous, with the black hose flattening at the edge. It's hard to maintain an illusion of volume when a form is cut off, which brings us back to abstraction.


Right Angle, detail


In this detail of the crisscross of hoses, you can see that I tried to create enough space for each form to exist in a believable space. This is a painting in which I had to do a lot of adjusting of forms and composition from the original photographic source, which had already been carefully composed on site and then on my computer screen. My aim is to balance what comes from the real world with the formal demands of the painting. 

12 comments:

  1. so interesting to hear what you are thinking as your work develops. you are a beautiful and generous spirit.

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    1. Thanks very much, Carol. I find it helpful to write about my thought process, and I often get interesting and intelligent feedback; it's a wonderful way of communicating.

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  2. Oh no, I don't think it austere or severe. This is very alive. I could sit there and be comfortable.

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    1. ah, comfort is wonderful, thanks Lisa.

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  3. the gradiation backgroud is striking, i keep seeing it as a picture postcard sky. the situation is certainly an enigma - there is a stage and an off stage where things continue the same but different....

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    1. I love the feeling of an enigma, rappel, and a stage and offstage. I'm glad that these mundane objects transformed themselves for you.

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  4. "severe and without warmth" are the LAST words that would ever occur to me, to describe your work! You are an inspiration, Altoon.

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    1. thanks so much, Ravenna. I guess I feel so dou9btful at times because if I'd continued to paint landscape, I'd still have a career. But I'm doing what I love.

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  5. inspiration for sure! vermeer and altoon....my favorites.

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  6. Altoon, Really nice group. There is plenty of warmth in the color and touch. I like the sence of real" forms in the abstract composition. The top one especially, which has a sort of surreal landscape iof you want to real it that way.

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    1. thanks, Dennis. This isn't a "group", but a single painting with a couple of details.

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