Invented Painting Backgrounds, Continued

Seated Times Two
Watercolor on Masa Paper, 7.75×3.75″ each

These two little watercolors were painted during the same session. Both had blank white grounds. The figures were complete enough not to discard them. I sat down one day to complete several such pieces. The image from the last post was one of them. So, these, too, had lain unseen for several weeks. The poses here were so similar that I decided to give them the same treatment and make them a pair. The two, together, I now consider to be one piece.

I have often said that a model is a collaborator in the creation on a work. An art savvy model can make a work seem so effortless that it feels as if it had crawled out the end of my brush. Models who create that atmosphere make a figure artist go all atwitter with excitement when they walk into the studio. They have a wide repertoire of poses and they know just when to use them. They are a joy to work with. Others limit themselves to a few poses or cliched poses that are used ad infinitum to the point of boredom. Sometimes modesl are hard to book or unreliable and one uses a model who can be counted upon to show up in spite of their perfunctory poses.

This model is one of those. These two poses were taken back to back and are very much alike. The only significant difference between them are the chairs and their heights. That’s why I decided on treating the backgrounds alike and making them a kind of diptych. (A diptych consists of two paintings which can function individually and as a pair. One can make triptychs (3) or or go on with many panels which meet these criteria.)

So a ho-hum model became an effective collaborator in a work of art.

T F m
December 18, 2014

Inventing a Painting Background


Perched on a High Stool
Watercolor on Masa Paper, 10.5×7.75″

I am pleased to announce that I am now represented online by Xanadu Gallery in Scottsdale Arizona. Here is the link to my Xanadu page.

This is one of several watercolors that have languished in an envelope in my car waiting for fresh eyes. I discarded several unfinished pieces which I had no hope of successfully completing. There just wasn’t enough information in them. Here, the figure, the green draped high stool, and foot rest had been completed. The sea of white paper surrounding those elements had to be addressed. The blue drape and the red bands are complete inventions. Having painted for many years helps when inventing elements. I can draw upon all the other times I have painted drapery from observation to invent and render it convincingly. I do need to be aware of the “feel” established by what is already there so I can maintain a similarity of “look” between the parts painted at different times. It makes for a unified whole.

No matter who is modeling, woman or man, I tend to treat the figure on a ground in a similar way. If the background is plain or filled with floral patterned drapery, the background situation always suggests the background in which the figure is placed. Sometimes I’ll change a color or repeat a pattern. Sometimes I will invent a fabric or pattern just as I have done here.

T F m
December 5, 2014