Monday, March 19, 2007

It was tax weekend, which essentially meant sitting cross-legged on the couch, laptop balanced on a pillow across my knees, taking hundreds of crumpled paper bits from the rubbermaid container, uncrumpling them, and entering the information into the laptop. We stopped at one point to go outside and take accurate measurements of the art trailer (or, as my husband would call it, the motorcycle trailer), because I am fearful that my current painting might not fit. In the studio on Friday, the last thing I did was take a rectangular cartoon and cut it into a triangular shape. In order to include elements on the the edges that I did not wish to lose, I kept having to enlarge the width of the triangle, so it is now a fairly long painting. Here was a sketch for the composition when it started:
And here is the composition now:

Tonight, after the Chapel Hill Iraq War Vigil, I will make my husband photograph me, so I can work on the bottom part of the composition. (Hint: Kandinsky)

I am contemplating making a trip back to Miami just to get some models for my new paintings. The few new friends I have made since the move just don't have the right look for these next paintings, and, back in South Florida, I knew enough people that I could always find what I was looking for, or at least locate someone to provide a departure point to work off of.

I must confess, most of my life I have walked right past large historical paintings with lots of figures on museum walls, unless there was some stunning, amazing element in them. I have always preferred more intimate figurative works.... but my new paintings are large, with lots of figures in them. I guess that if someone told me 10 years ago that I would be doing embroideries (never mind the "with hair" part), I would have regarded them with great skepticism. Now, these complex, populated paintings.. you never know where your work is going to take you.

The new work is pushing me far out of my comfort zone: anyone who teaches figure drawing can tell you that people generally stick with a particular scale for their figures, and stay there: often, it is a small scale... (our parent's fault, for giving us 8 1/2 x 11" pieces of paper to draw on?). In figure drawing class, one of the first things you do is make people work large, so their figures can open up. In any event, I have always been comfortable with life size figures... so much easier to get all the information in there. So, with lots of small figures, the challenge for me is to keep from making a painting that will take me 5 years to finish.


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