Tuesday, March 30, 2010
This is a painting I've been working on over the past 3 months. It's been very refreshing to be painting inside over the winter, as well as, working at home. The painting was done at night, after my kids are in bed, from about 8-10:30pm. It depicts the second floor of our house, seen from the street end and looking towards the back of the house where the kitchen is. There have been countless painting sessions, as I've become more involved with painting in a more exacting and descriptive manner. Initially I was thinking of painting either my wife or my children on the sofa, but as the painting progressed, I liked the idea of seeing the vacated space with a human presence in it. There are some subtle references to this, such as the scattered toys in the foreground and the TV which is on (the right-hand side of the painting). After a few weeks of working on it, upon returning from checking my email on the computer in the kitchen, I noticed the screen was emitting this beautiful cobalt blue glow in the background. I decided to add that element too, not only as another focal point of light, but as a nod to the previous painting of the banana palm I did.
The scattering of different light sources throughout the space, the lamp on the left, the upward light of the wall sconces, the TV screen, the computer, the warm glow of the light in the kitchen, keep the eye moving through the space. Initially, I had planned on painting the floor without the toys, but it looked too neat and barren. The fact is, by the end of the day, my kids usually have their toys scattered all over the place in the living room, and it's a constant battle to have this space organized. I felt it would be more true to life if the toys were depicted as being left out on the carpet. The hard part was keeping it from looking too composed, so I edited out some of the toys that were left out one night, and took a photo to note the position of each one. This way, I could refer to the photo to set the toys up during a specific painting session. Most of it is Playmobil, which are my son's favorite toys, and I welcomed the opportunity to paint these objects with their bright, synthetic looking colors. I included one of my daughter's, a princess, which was added during the last painting session.
The painting is rather compact, for having such a large sweep of the room included, which accounts for the distortion that occurs when fitting a wide field of vision into the parameters of the canvas. I still find painting by lamp-light rather difficult, as there is always an adjustment period with the light and colors when I bring the piece to my studio. It's the same as working outdoors, but there it's usually a matter of too much light rather, than too little. It's good, because it actually forces me to work without the motif in front of me, something that needs to be done if I'm actually going to see what the painting is doing.