Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Brooke At Rest, Redux

Brooke at Rest, oil on linen

 Staring at the images of the earlier stages of this painting, (see last post) I can easily see that in the process of building the painting I lost the gesture somehow. Mainly, I lost the slouch, the relaxed curve of her back. The more I looked at it, the more I felt I needed to have that slouch back. I decided well, there's nothing to lose here because I don't like what I have, as is.

It seemed like an easy fix, but upon trying to figure out what needed to happen, I realized that to move the spine means moving everything else too. The head had to be moved to the left and lowered. In the course of doing so, I ditched the red scarf thingy. I thought in the previous version, the red fabric made too big a statement. I left a little bit of it, like a hair band or a ribbon of some sort, mainly for color accent but I wanted a more generalized head - I opted for a tight bun that I see dancers always wear. Of course, it meant that I had to repaint the head entirely, so that's what I did.

Curving the back outward meant that the front had to go inward, else the torso would be too thick. I repainted the torso.

 Moving the torso didn't affect the positions of her legs because her hips stayed where they were, but I was bothered by her left (the one closest to us) leg having too much of a "sausage effect".  I decided to bring her other foot closer to the body, so the left knee would overlap the right heel, creating a continuous shape.  Doing so created an isolated triangle framed by her leg masses, but given the choice between that and a big sausage, I thought it was a better choice. I did lose the rough, transparent and textural quality that the original leg had,  (because I had to paint it opaque to cover it up) but that couldn't be helped.

Moving the leg meant I had to repaint her hand, too. I'm still working on the gesture of it. It's a tricky thing, to say the least.

The background had to be redone also, because there was considerable shaping from the outside.

So pretty much, I ended up painting the whole thing over! Looking at it now, I think I can work on it some more. It's interesting to see how the painting keeps changing on me. It's got a life of its own, that's for sure~


  1. Thanks for putting the original and newer version side by side; because of that, your comments were
    very clear. I really appreciate you explaining your logic process, especially when you point out what you gain, plus what you lose.
    I am always flogging myself for having to make a correction, because then I have lost that first fresh brushstroke or transparency. It is some comfort that highly skilled painters need sometimes to do that too!

  2. thanks Judy, I'm glad you can relate!