posted: December 5, 2008
I found the color relationship between the blues in her skirt, sweater and hair and the warm of her skin to strike a simple, lovely chord....
A recent "premier coup" (first strike/oil sketch) that I did, during an early morning painting session at The Art Students League. As I'm working away my thoughts revolve around my own history with The League. Mixed emotions, doubt, linked to my journey as a young artist keep interrupting my focus. Painting heros like Henri and Eakins, Sargent, peak over my shoulder. Past painting teachers, lovingly stop by to give advice, check in. The studio I share with other long time league artists is cozy. The radiators hiss, pipes bang. The old furnace, five stories below, sends up a dusty steam that warms generations of students, models and teachers. We struggle to focus, respectful friends, each of us nursing a cup of coffee and a need to get this right.
A closer look....
Gerard de Lairesse (16411711) was, in his day, a well-known painter, etcher, and art theorist. He suffered from congenital syphilis, which caused him to go blind about 1690; he subsequently focused his energies on art theory. By the time this portrait was painted, around 1665, the ravaging effects of the disease were visible in his swollen features and bulbous nose. Recording his unfortunate appearance with an uncompromising directness, Rembrandt invested his subject with an air of quiet dignity. Although the sitter's theories on the ideal in painting were antithetical to Rembrandt's style, which Lairesse disparagingly likened to "liquid mud on the canvas," the portrayal is a sympathetic one....
Tim OBrien December 6, 2008
I like you visual tale of what it's like to paint up there. I never have. Nice painting too. I am in the midst of teaching one of my classes to go from rub-out to opaque painting. Economy of brushwork is hard to teach. They all want to blend and are afraid to leave a chunky stroke alone.
Leo Espinosa December 6, 2008
blues, ochres and turpentine. yumm! I don't know if I'm right because I'm not seeing the original but my monitor shows a little too much volume on one side of the face in comparison with the other. I bet you have it all solved by now, Pedro.
David Zeggert December 7, 2008
Peter, nicely done, also like the warms tones in the background, too. best-D
J.D. King December 8, 2008
Jenny take a ride! Our resident neo-classicist strikes again!
Peter Cusack December 8, 2008
Tim. Thank for stopping in. I agree, it is something that is very hard to teach. Lots of info is carried by one well placed and thought out stroke. It can also feel like a totally "out of control" process. The way I teach it, is by having my students start with a small color or poster study and slowly increasing the size; always asking them not to draw, but to see the painting in big, clear, color notes. As they are working and struggling, I support them by explaining the theory behind what they are doing. I actually should remind myself to always think about the theory of what I am doing rather then just copying what I see (note to self). Painting outside also helps me figure out a painterly process. Charles Hawthorne and Henry Henche are two artist that have written about the color spot approach. And I guess the process is based on Monet's ideas and process. Don't quote me on that. Anywho. Thanks for the convo. I actually met one of your students about a month ago. She talked about a crit you gave her. It wasn't only technical but it incorporated thoughts on choices you/one makes as a growing artist. She loves being in your class. Leo. UMMMM not sure about that. There's always a difference between the actual painting and the digital pic. My lens is so sensitive. It picks out subtle differences in individual brushstrokes and temperature differences. It even picks up the weave of the canvas. I've actually been looking for a filter that would reduce this very sharp feel. I've also tried adjusting it in photoshop. ORRRRRRR! It could be that there is a bit too much volume on one side of the face . . . LOL. Either way, I tend to like and leave certain dissonant qualities that "arrive" in the painting process. Notice her eyes too. There is a certain unnamable sublimity that I'm after which (for me/for my personal work) sometime incorporates an imperfection. Thanks for the comment and the great convo. Much respect. David and JD. Thanks guys for stopping in. Your comments mean so much to me.
Nancy Stahl December 9, 2008
Nice one, Peter..! I like the asymmetry. And I love your description of the atmosphere at ASL. Makes me want to grab my oils and get back over there... if it weren't so darn cold.
Peter Cusack December 9, 2008
Thanks Nance . . . You were up late!!!
mel December 9, 2008
your paintings definitely seem to teeter on that edge between beauty and dissonance, and that's one of my favorite things about them. Part of me imagines Jenny in a cafe while the other part of me imagines her in a mental institution. can't believe you pulled this out of your paintbrush in 3 hrs.
Peter December 9, 2008
Mel Your comment made me think about a Rembrandt painting that I will add above. The caption is a blurb about the life of Remb's painting. Funny, it seems to address a few issues we've discussed. Dissonance, dignaty, theory, voice and art criticism.