Terry Miura • Studio Notes

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Blue (violet) and Red (orange)

Between Blue and Red, 14 x 14, oil on linen

It's typical for me to assign myself a task, a goal, if you will, for a study based on a previous effort. During or after I do a painting, there are often questions like, "what if I made it this color, or if I made that part simpler?"  If I keep most other things similar, the comparison between the new and the previous pieces can be very instructional, much more so than if I kept changing things on one canvas, in which case I only have my memory to compare against. I suppose I can take photos along the way, but it's still nice to set two variations physically side by side and scrutinize them together.

So for this particular painting, I wanted to use a very similar palette to the previous week's painting (last post) but push the saturation of the colors a little farther, blasting a color field in a non-focal area. I knew it would be a more graphic solution than strictly representational, and that's what I was going for.

Compared to the last week's painting, the new one obvious has more impact. It's much louder, is the impression I get. It is more appropriate for this particular model, but that's beside the point. (Because I'm not interested in portraying her likeness or personality) 

I like the boldness, but I did lose that quiet, airy quality of the last piece. To be expected of course, you can't be both quiet and loud!

So for the next piece, I wanted to go back to a quieter, airy mood. I decided to use much less blue and push the whole thing toward red, and keep the overall values in the higher register (light and airy, remember?) 

Sitting Pretty, 18 x 18, oil on linen

The model was sitting on the same sofa, but I made it more bed-like. She was young and pretty, which posed a challenge because the painting kept wanting to be about a pretty girl. I kept having to downplay the facial features because every time I added this detail or that, it accentuated her identity. I'm more interested in painting Everywoman, and not a specific girl.  Easy to do when the painting is small and I can't put facial features in there if I wanted to, but this was a larger canvas (her head is about 4 inches on the canvas) and it's hard to leave empty a shape that size. 

I'm happy with the overall mood, though. I think I can still go lighter and airier. Maybe if I keep pushing that I'll end up with a white Rothko painting!

Her hand needs a little work still. It looks unnatural, and carries too much intent, only that intent is unknown and isn't part of the concept. Its gesture is too loud and irrelevant. I'll have to try a few different positions and see what works. 

Starting with the next post, I'll be sharing my NEW cityscapes. I'm really excited about this new direction, and I'm eager to have them see the light of day!

Stay tuned.


  1. really like the feel of this. airy..yes. what if the thumb was closer to fingers? just thinking since you didnt like the hand

  2. Thanks Melanie~

    I think the whole damn hand needs to be repainted! I'll try several positions, including your suggestion, and see what works :-)