Friday, August 26, 2016

A series



18 x14
Cherry blossom robe 7
16 x12
Cherry blossom robe 6
12 x 16
Cherry blossom robe 5
14 x 11
Cherry blossom robe 4
9 x 12
Cherry blossom robe 3
16 x 12
Cherry blossom robe 2
40 x 30
Cherry blossom robe and floral jug
My mother gave me a robe that I remember from my childhood.  How I remember it, I've no idea since she never wore it: it was much too long for her.  I think it was an exotic and irresistible impulse buy all those years ago and she never quite got around to having it altered to fit.

Covered with cherry blossoms, it's faux kimono style and as perfect as the day she bought it decades ago.  I love it!  And I'm inspired by it.  This garment has sparked a whole series, and I'm not sure that it's done yet.

Starting with the still life, I painted it on different scales in rapid succession, trying not to overthink anything, rather to just respond.  And I tried, each time, to do something a bit different.  Because it's the same garment over and over, I'm looking for each painting to mine something new, whether it's a technique, a mood, a movement... there are endless possibilities.

The figurative pieces are composed from video stills of myself wearing the robe and running about in the yard while my son filmed.  Me: "Make sure my feet are in it, too",  Son: "Got 'em".  Result: lots of headless footage but nicely framed feet.   Still, he managed to get some full figure footage, and it's rich with gestures and movements.  There are a lot of paintings there.

I wanted to work the whole series at once so that I could pick up and put down a piece as it called to me.  I don't usually have so many paintings on the go at one time, but I deliberately started all 6 figurative paintings in one day - sometimes with just a few marks and a notation to remind myself of which image it came from - and let them dry.  As soon as one was completely dry,  I'd pick it up and get another layer on it.   You can see that some are very direct (the still life and number 5) while the others are indirect and fragmented to various degrees.  I used many tools from brushes to scrapers, credit cards, and knives in order to achieve greater abstraction of form and the visual depth and complexity that I yearn for.

I'm at a natural break right now, having worked all the paintings to a degree of completion that don't suggest any new moves to me, and I may give it a few days to just rest the idea.  I'll let you know if the series still has legs as soon as it lets me know!

Happy painting!




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