March 19, 2014

A New Painting: "Stripes"

Stripes, egg tempera on calfskin parchment, 9 x 7 in.

While I was working on this painting I kept feeling as though I was herding cats, trying to get the different grays onto the same picture plane, and the red too. When one stripe of color seemed right, it threw off the others, and that happened again and again. I finally got it all working fairly well together, but getting the colors correct in a photo was another challenge, so what you see here is close but far from perfect. I liked the idea of trying for the shifts in gray hues, which is surprisingly more difficult than intense color. I am also playing with curves, tending down and rising up, with only a few straight lines. I don't mind if the top of the painting seems to bulge outward, breaking the picture plane, while the lower part is more sedate.

Stripes detail

I attempted to get an illusion of a reflective surface on the zigzag form and the bar it rests on. Getting the balance of value and hue correctly so that shadows read as shadows and not simply dark shapes is another perennial challenge.

Stripes detail

Here is a close detail of the simple part of the painting. You can see the variation of grays within each band of color. I love minimalist painting and wonder if some day what you see above will constitute the entire image.....


  1. I like your shifts in the grey hues and they work very well. wonderful to see after a visit to the National Gallery in London today for a show of Veronese paintings. one of my favourites included a full figure in beautiful drapery - all grey with shifts in hue that were so beautiful. and then to see this - serendipity!

    1. Thanks, maureen. I love the Veronese comparison; thanks for the link.