May 5, 2015

A New Painting: "Large Curve"

Large Curve, egg tempera on calfskin parchment, 7 x 10 in. 

All two dimensional art is an abstraction, even when the image is representational, but the representation/abstraction balance is a sliding scale. Sometimes my paintings are quite close to the image source; at other times I change elements so much that it feels as though I'm making a non-objective painting. Large Curve is in the second category. What attracted me to the image was the large flat curved shape, in a strong rusty orange color. It was set off by some green elements. On the right was a tire, partially shadowed. As I began working, I realized that I didn't want the tire in the painting; it was too much of the real world. So, I flattened it into a partial circle, with a flat shadow running across it. In the source image, the light green vertical bars were actually not vertical, but moving out horizontally towards the picture plane; that did not work at all, so I made them verticals. I felt I needed other elements to establish a repeating rhythm in the greens, so added the shadowed vertical and the horizontal bar along the bottom. The diagonal bar was in the original image; I left it there to play off against the angle of shadow at the right, creating an implied triangle. I made the negative shape at the right dark rather than the light filled area it had been. It was difficult work, but fun, to juggle the shapes and colors, trying to make a simple, dynamic, coherent painting.

Large Curve detail


  1. How fun to hear that process described! I love the palette - a very beautiful and successful piece, Altoon.

  2. I like the brush strokes that hum across the painting.