July 1, 2014

A New Painting: "Light Fingers"

Light Fingers, egg tempera on calfskin parchment, 6 x 8 in.

This painting was a clear lesson in how something so seemingly simple can be so hard to get right. I wrestled with the greens for days, making them lighter, darker, warmer, cooler; wiping off the shadow color and starting again: the shadow was too dark, too light, too cool. Each time I thought the painting was finished, I'd walk away from it for a while to get a fresh view, or leave it overnight, and see that the balance of hue and value was still off. One of the challenges was to get the upper part of the painting, including the horizontal plane, to look as though it was in front of the lower part of the painting and to do that with "hue, value, intensity" of color, a rallying cry of my former teacher at Skowhegan years ago, Gabriel Laderman. Those three qualities of color can be endlessly adjusted, balanced and rebalanced. Finally, I think I pinned down those greens.

Light Fingers detail