July 24, 2013

A New Painting: A Diptych, "Untitled (Gold, Turquoise)"

Untitled (Gold Turquoise), egg tempera on calfskin parchment; two panels, each 8 3/8 x 3 3/4 in. 

Does painting a diptych, a two panel work, carry with it an implied narrative, more than a single panel piece? The two parts of the painting "speak" to each other as the eye jumps over the gap and notes the formal relationships. I like this back and forth, the way a form on one side is in tension, or balances, the form on the other. I did lots and lots of photographic studies until I came up with two that worked together. But, I hope that the relationships stay abstract and don't evolve into a story; lack of narrative, for me, doesn't preclude feeling or mood.

Painting the background color took many many layers of paint until it was a color that satisfied me and that was opaque and weighty, yet carried light. I enjoy the relationship of the two basic colors, though what I see on my screen (which I fiddled with endlessly) is close to the color of the painting but not perfect.

Untitled (Gold Turquoise), detail

The texture of the paint is always more visible in a detail shot. I realize that I don't splash paint around, but even with precise handling, I hope that the paint has life. 


  1. Love these Altoon!! Such rich depth and color, and these make such a dynamic duo. Bravo!

  2. Although not always true, I do think that your diptych contains a strong internal dialogue, which also raises questions for the viewer - well, this viewer, anyway. I find both halves to be animated, and each side can seem more positive than the other, so a dialogue of equals; but what also intrigues is the end which continues (?) over the edge for each ribbon. The top left could be seen to be cut off by the gap, or folded under, or even somehow sweep out of our sight to return at the bottom right. The bottom right does look as if it goes on unseen rather than being cut off.
    Of course, I am someone who deals with figurative work, and I strive for enigma, so I probably see it elsewhere where it's marginal whether it exists or not! I do love your work, however, and it is certainly painterly.

  3. Another of your paintings that make me want to touch.

  4. Thanks so much for the wonderful comments.
    Olga, I love the idea of enigma and am happy for you to see that here.
    I suppose that at the heart of a diptych is that dialog, which is what intrigues me about it. I'm sure I'll be doing more in future.