April 7, 2014

A New Painting: "Yellow Teeth"

Yellow Teeth, egg tempera on calfskin parchment, 7 x 8 in.

This painting is more complex than most of my recent work, so I feel unsure about it. I like the sweeping curve, interrupted by the regular indentations, straight and rounded (but is it too busy?). The large forms of shadow and curve are interrupted by a small raised form at the lower left. I tried leaving out the dark hole, but found that it anchored the composition.

This group portrait actually gives a betters sense of Yellow Teeth than the individual images, which I had a hard time photographing without showing too much texture in the darks. (click to enlarge)

Yellow Teeth detail

There is translucency in the shadows, but not quite as variable as that seen in the photo. A beautiful aspect of egg tempera paint is its translucence; with it you can get a sense of light flowing through color. Certain pigments are more translucent than others and often pose a technical challenge. Painting never allows for an easy-breezy process.


  1. Your work is wonderful. The colors sublime. And no, I don't think it is too busy at all.

  2. To me, by keeping the palette limited, you have simplified the complexity of the composition, while balancing the almost-threatening aspect of the teeth with a warm and pleasing hue. I think it is brilliant, and not an aberration in the body of your work.

  3. thanks so much! this is why I love sharing online; the virtual studio visits are very helpful to me.

  4. Thank you so much for sharing your work and your thoughts. This work is complex--but not busy. The colors belie the deep meaning of the subject. Beautiful

  5. Agreed. I love the warmth of the yellow, the way the shadow falls and the dark hole is perfect for the composition. It creates an interesting and pleasing geometry while creating a sense of mystery. Lovely.