Twin Uprights, egg tempera on calfskin parchment, 5 1/8 x 5 inches.
I completed this painting last week before I went to New York, so I've had plenty of time to reflect on it. I like the way it's painted and the quality of light; I even like the composition. But...but...When I look at it alongside other paintings I've done recently, I feel uncomfortable about it. Then I began to think about the last painting I didn't like, Black Dot, which oddly enough is also primarily green.
Black Dot, egg tempera on calfskin parchment, 4 5/8 x 6 inches.
I wrote a blog post on this work, which I titled "How Do We Evaluate Our Work?", which you can read here. In the post I listed some criteria that I hold are necessary for success. After finishing Twin Uprights, I realized that almost all my paintings have images that are frontal, with forms mainly parallel to the picture plane, which contributes to the "stripped down simplicity" and "strong sense of presence" that I aim for. I hadn't pinpointed the diagonal space of Black Dot as the source of my discomfort, but now with the additional example of Twin Uprights it seems to be the culprit. When I look at the next 8 paintings I have planned, they are all frontal, with enough variation in composition, form, and color to keep me interested and challenged. This doesn't mean I'll never try another painting with a diagonal movement into space, but I will be more aware of its difficulty for me. Of course, some of my readers might like both of these paintings; isn't art marvelously subjective!?