March 9, 2015

A New Painting: "Rectangular Blues"

Rectangular Blues, egg tempera on calfskin parchment, 7 1/8 x 9 1/2 in.

It's interesting to see the responses to our work out in the world: sometimes pieces we think "meh" of are greeted with enthusiasm, and works we really like are duds. Does this mean our own judgement is faulty, or that of the viewers? Maybe neither, and it's just a matter of taste. I happen to really like this painting I recently finished, and didn't like the last one much. I have an austere streak, and this image satisfies it: very simple overlapping rectangles, all variations of one color, with areas of black. Sunlight crosses the blue at repeating diagonals. I made the source image's light grassy areas into deep darks to keep a minimal expression of form; I added a bar across the left center of the painting, to bring light into it.

Rectangular Blues detail

I considered changing the curved forms at the upper left into a rectangle to keep with the shaped theme, but I thought that the variation added some energy to the composition. Although based on real things out in the world, balancing these paintings feels much like making an abstract image. I am concerned that the light and the form are convincing, and that the painting stands on its own without reference to the real world.


  1. I do love the way your paintings give a value and a beauty to the fleeting glimpses of those mechanical conjunctions which simply catch our eye in life. You reward the noticing by providing fittingly celebratory distillations for contemplation. Thank you.

  2. One of your BEST pieces (IMO) since I've been following your work Altoon, and I agree totally with your choices as you explain in your blog post, EXCELLENT execution all around... BRAVO !!

    PS: Keep listening to your intuition, it's "spot-on" ;)

  3. very beautiful, serene, with gravitas.

  4. Thank you so very much, Olga, Rich, and Ravenna. It's good to know that my feeling about this piece is seconded.

  5. What a wonderful painting! Everything in it feel exactly right -