My work on this new painting made me want to look through a book on Pontormo by Salvatore S. Nigro to examine figure compositions. I was struck by the conveyance of silence found throughout the works. The silence is in the formal compositions of the paintings themselves and in the time and attention it requires to examine them. In The Visitations we see the saints communicating through glances. Even in a painting that would logically contain noise conveyed through screams we see dignity in silence. In Eleven Thousand Martyrs only three figures have opened mouths and their heads and bodies are shown with care and delicacy; they symbolize suffering nobly endured. No screams these, only loud sighs emanate from their lips. The viewer sees these images of pain and we are forced to contemplate them in silence, as befits their locations in churches, monasteries and hospitals. No unnecessary or necessary sounds, only the subjects’ and the viewers’ thoughts ricocheting back and forth, one to another. I hope to achieve something of this, one of the many beautiful aspects of Pontormo’s works, in my new painting, which is coming along (detail below) With this terribly warm and humid weather, I will have to reserve my painting times to early mornings and evenings, so I have enough ventilation in my studio.
then start in small increments. Which is exactly what I did these last two mornings, when I spent 30-45 minutes each day drawing the figures for a new painting.
These are two studies for a new painting I will be working on. I have been thinking about trust and those who help us due to how often we must have faith in others to get the help we need in this challenging world. While I was waiting for Maryanne’s shoulder surgery to be over, I was able to complete the second compositional study. Both drawings will be useful in the next phase of this work, when I make more detailed charcoal drawings on canvas before painting. As of now, there will be five bluebirds in this one, and of course my puggle Sammie will be in the background. I met a fellow artist in the hospital’s OR waiting area, who also struggles to make time to create, as life often throws curveballs.
with how this is coming along, I have treated myself to a library visit, homemade cornbread and a Mexican dinner. Going forward, the figures’ shadows will tie it all together in a subtle way. Very pleased with myself today.
I am happy with the beautiful face of this figure. It has the perfect ratio of warm to cool: thoughts of Velazquez. The middle figure brings the painting together. The pose, the values and the colors all harmonize with the overall composition. I envision the figure on the right with Rubensian flesh tones. The tones will contrast nicely with the other two figures’ flesh colors. Additionally, I am healing well from Takotsubo. It usually takes a month and I am near that mark. And, my Mets won a game yesterday. Good work all around.
I have been working on this figure from the Three Graces painting. The next time I work on it, I will soften the edges. The skin tone is warm to cool throughout, with the goal of having neither the warmth nor the cold be too prominent.
Working on the landscape elements of this painting has been a way to escape my current health issues. I know from experience that once a health issue crops up, it is easy to get caught up in negative thinking and lose my equanimity. So, I am going to make a concerted effort this time to not start thinking the worst. So far, I have come across a bad doctor, an equally bad cardiac unit of a local hospital, and some truly kind and caring medical professionals. I have to have faith that I will come across more of the latter and not the former as this journey continues. Maybe the Three Graces can help guide me.