July 6, 2010

A New Painting, with Others on a Freshly Painted Wall

Yellow Angles, egg tempera on calfskin parchment, 4 3/8 x 4 1/4 inches

Yellow Angles is a painting that I wish I had made a bit larger; at the small sizes that I'm working with, an inch larger can make a huge difference in the size of shapes within the composition. After working on this painting for a while, I felt that it was cramped, which made it somewhat cold in mood to my eye. But we're not always the best judge of our own work, so I may be wrong about it. I do like the composition, with the zig-zagging shapes, and the little 'eye' on the right providing a note of difference.

I think the painting looks better when grouped with others. A few days ago, I painted the 2 walls in my studio that I use for display so that I could see the work more clearly; small paintings don't do well on a dirty, pin-pricked wall. (as always, you can click on these images to enlarge them) I then rehung paintings in two ways: grouped together as above, and in a line, seen below, which is a more standard gallery version of showing work. I think I like them both ways, though in the line version they might need more space between each work. What could be engaging is a mixed hanging, with some paintings spread out and others huddled together. I'd be interested to hear any reactions you might have to this issue. I imagine that those of us who make art have a dream show in our heads, where we could show what we want in the way we want it. Mine would include my textile work along with a large grid of 12 inch paintings on panel and many small paintings on vellum, all conversing with each other. And yours?


  1. Hello Altoon,
    I LOVE Yellow Angles....beautiful. I have never made a comment on your blog before...shy I guess. But I have to tell you that you taught me to do Egg Tempera via your book, about 8 years ago. I fell in love with the medium, and was totally inspired by your writing and your artwork. I still work in other mediums but ET will eventually win out in the end, as I downsize my lifestyle.

    I subscribed to your blog quite some time ago and, again, I wanted to thank you for your beautiful photos of the woods, moss, flowers, and life around you...I live in Florida now where we don't get the thrill of the first crocus poking through the snow. I appreciate your sharing your multi-faceted life with us, as it is such a pleasure to read your blog entries!


  2. hi Gainor, and thanks so much for your wonderful comment on painting and blog; it's also great to know that my book inspired your use of egg tempera. We so often labor away without knowing if our work touches anyone, so communication such as this is much appreciated.

  3. I like "yellow angles" a lot also. and since you have some reservations about size why not do a large version just to see it? I've also wondered about some of your recent smalls: how would they look not small?
    I like the idea of playing with groupings and lines in the same exhibition space, things talk differently depending on where they are placed. when the artist does the arranging it's one thing, when a curator arranges it's something else. as an artist I would rather have someone else contend with arrangement and grouping, but that's just because I don't think of those things unless pressed.

  4. thanks rappel, so I should think of this painting as a success. I wouldn't do a larger version (I was thinking of 5 inches instead of 4) because it would bore me. I've never liked repeating an image because there are so many ideas to explore. As for 'not small', I so like working with this size range, that I want to keep up with it for now.
    I've always enjoyed arranging my own solo shows, with input from the gallerist, though many artists prefer not.

  5. I'd love to see a whole showing of your work, in your special arrangement of it. You have such a keen eye. I like yellow angles, but when looking on a computer screen, I don't really think of its small size. I always imagine them much larger than they are.

  6. Hi Altoon-

    I like Yellow Angles too. Am wondering what color pigment you used for the yellow color(s). On the screen it has a green tint.
    As for hanging, I like the idea of groupings with lines, depending upon the image content, colors, shape/dimension, etc.... Let's do it another year!!!

  7. Two more votes in favor of Yellow Angles. Thanks, Maggie and Susan. (Sometimes I wonder if it's just the color yellow that is so appealing.) And yes, some of the yellow is in the green range; I didn't want the color to be too warm. As with all my paintings, the color is very mixed; here my palette included cadmium yellow medium, french ochre, ultramarine blue, cadmium red medium, chrome oxide green, burnt sienna, burnt umber, and of course some titanium white.