August 5, 2010

A New Painting: "Dots"

Dots, egg tempera on calfskin parchment, 5 1/4 x 6 1/2 inches

Although most of my paintings have volumetric forms and some illusion of depth, I enjoy working on images that are fairly flat; they begin to feel close to the minimalist painting that I love. The large flat planes play nicely with the details, in this painting a wacky series of round holes, opening: where? I painted the surfaces with subtle evidence of the brush, to give them more physical presence.

Here is the new painting hanging in the studio, along with another flat image and two with rounded volumes. It fleetingly passes my mind at times that I should focus on one sort of image and push that relentlessly, like the signature styles of abstract expressionist painters, but that would ultimately be boring for me; the wandering and exploring and trying things out keep me engaged and having fun.


  1. wow I just love this new painting, everything about it. it sings and it also smiles. it's serious and funny at the same time.

  2. Well said Rappel .... dont think i can say much more...except I think it is great that you are choosing to explore and include the element of fun Altoon... its really rewarding then ...and this is proof of it being both rewarding for you and the viewer!

  3. thanks rappel and Sophie. I enjoy the comic as one of the elements to explore in image making, so I'm happy that it comes across. Fun, enjoyment, pleasure are important to me in the studio; not for me the "storm and stress" invading all, which is not to say I don't sometimes have a tough time: the start of this painting was really difficult.

  4. Rappel and Sophie are right; I smiled as soon as the image of the painting appeared. Can't quite put my finger on the reason; maybe it's just the nature of dots. Even though I know these paintings are small, I have to say I am almost always taken aback to see them next to each other and to be reminded of the scale. Alone on the computer screen I always imagine them really big.