October 4, 2009

Red Cone

Red Cone, 2009, 26 x 18 inches, egg tempera on panel

I think I've finished the painting Red Cone (I have to live with it for a while to see whether or not it needs any tweaking.) It turns out that the layers and layers of paint that I struggled with, mentioned in the "ugh" post, did help as a foundation for the final layers. You can see something of the paint handling in the detail: using round brushes, I attempted to both follow the form and make lively marks. Using brushstrokes and color changes––warmer color toward the bottom of the cone form as it moves forward––I attempt to achieve the illusion of an volume in space. Clicking on the images above will take you to enlargements which will give you more information.

I could have called this painting something like "many curves" because of the swooping curves both in the drawing on the surface, and in its form: the curve outwards of tires, of cone, of yellow "hat". I like the plainness of the bottom of the image against the complexity of the top; the large sweep of the cone's curve against the small cylinders of the pipes. And red is such an interesting, difficult, and dynamic color to work with. I leave it to you, my readers, to figure out any metaphors suggested by the image.

A note on the photographs of paintings: they are often frustrating in their move to the blog. I carefully work on color accuracy when I shoot my finished work; using camera raw for shooting, I print out the image and check it with the original. In the printout of the painting, the color is very accurate, but the jpeg above is not. The enlargement, seen when you click the image, will be closer to the painting color, though a little too dark. The detail on this page is closer to the actual color than the image of the entire painting; I have no idea why this happens. Very annoying.


  1. very complex subject, it reminds me of highway architecture - overpasses and underpasses - forms going in definite directions carrying out their assigned duties.

  2. the red color is dynamic, but it is the rust that adds character.

  3. Is that rust, that brilliant red-in-shadow bar? I have really enjoyed looking at these paintings that have both objective and non-objective aspects.

    This one was even more fun, as I saved the detail file, and then zoomed in a bunch of times....

  4. yes, there's rust on the edges of that bar, and also on the wide pipe leading into the long one. On the elbow of that long pipe, most of the texture is actually dried soil, rather than rust.

    There's always a balancing act for me, in terms of how much rust and wear to show; I don't want the image to look nostalgic or sentimental which wear can evoke. But often the texture is essential to the composition, or adds to the richness of the form.