September 9, 2013

A New Painting: "Emerging Black"

Emerging Black, egg tempera on calfskin parchment, 6 x 8 in.

This painting was a clear example to me of how my vision changes from one year to the next: a while ago I was looking through some of the photos I took last summer, 2012, for paintings, searching for something else and I came across this image; it was a reject at the time. (I take lots and lots of photos; the ones I like I save in folders; the ones I really like I make paintings of.) When I saw it again I thought...hmm, this is interesting; why didn't I like it last year? I was now fascinated by the large black forms emerging from the curved red surface, volume against plane, with the curves all rhythmically interacting.

Emerging Black, detail

I was surprised how difficult it was to get a black that had a warm hue––it kept looking too blue––but after much overpainting I finally got the effect I was after, a black that was lively and balanced the red, which I deliberately kept on the cool side, warming it slightly as the plane moved forward. My last post on the picture plane is somewhat relevant here, as the black forms see to want to burst from it, but being  broken by the edges of the panel they are flattened again.


  1. All kinds of ambiguity in this beauty!

  2. Yes, I am drawn by this too. Especially interesting in light of yesterday's wonderfully informative post. Those van der Weyden hands are intense.

  3. I'm also fascinated by this painting-especially the swirl of red traveling across the solidity of the grey and black forms.

  4. Thanks, Julie and Cecelia; your comments are much appreciated.