August 16, 2010

A New Painting: "Green Orange Black"

Green Orange Black, egg tempera on calfskin parchment, 4 1/2 x 6 inches

With this painting, I am back to an expression of volumetric forms, with the swing of a line of black hoses balanced by the curve, in the opposite direction, of the orange and black hose. Because of the level of detail of the image, it took quite a while to get right. To me, it's important that the detail be convincing enough so that it does not demand attention, but simply feels a part of the whole.

I took a couple of photographs of the beginning stages of the painting, in order to show how loose the handling is at first. Even though I trace the composition from a photo, I do not attempt to follow careful outlines; I am more interested in getting a sense of color and value, keeping my eye on the overall effect of light.

In this later stage, you can see the image coming into focus. I work on drawing all the curving lines with grace and an illusion of volume. I use a ruler to help with measurements such as the distances between the black ridges on the orange hose, and a T-square, for drawing straight lines parallel to the edges of the panel. All this work is in service of a painting that I hope feels real, with an almost tangible presence.


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. (I had made spelling errors and so deleted above)

    to me, this painting says ' I see this: direct and reflected light on orange tubing, direct light and shadow on the hose, the various shades of light and dark green, the metal clamp and wing nut vertical pause...' (if this were black and white it might read like a musical composition.) to me: complex perceptions presented simply, a detail of harmony taken from the visual world.

  3. Thanks for your verbal artistry that praises my visual attempt, rappel. What you describe is what I hope to achieve. (I wonder at times how the actual physical object will stand up after screen viewing.)

  4. I like the relationship of the hose and the tubing, all those repeated arcs and shadows. And thank you for posting the process photos; I didn't know you could start so loosely.

  5. I'm glad you like the painting, Susan. I've always started my paintings quite loosely, and assume that readers have seen my step-by-steps before, so it's good that you've pointed out that I shouldn't make that assumption.

  6. It just surprises me how much you adjust after laying down the color. I have been working in transparent watercolor for some years now, and miss the flexibility of a paint that covers -- I like to revise. And I always like to see how you work.