Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Woman with a Cellphone

Woman with a Cellphone
7 1/4" x 7 1/2"     oil on linen     2015

This new painting is a study in blues and greens, enlivened by the warm skin tones and blonde hair. I've also returned to a narrative theme I've used a number of times: people with phones.

The phone first appeared in my work in 1969:

Telephone Call
7" x 9"      oil on linen       1968
Private Collection, Massachusetts

Aside from their narrative interest, objects like phones, cigarettes, playing cards - and newspapers - create interesting hand gestures that can help direct the flow of the viewer's attention through the composition.

Telephone Call
8" x 11 1/2"     oil on linen    1982
Private Collection, New York     

Woman with a Cellphone took three drawings to work out:

drawing #1
3/4" x 5 1/4"     pencil on graph paper     2015

drawing #2
3/4" x 7"     pencil on graph paper      2015

drawing # 3 
7 1/4" x 6 1/2"     pencil on graph paper w/ pastel tone on reverse     2015

When the painting was on the easel, I decided her legs needed more room and added an inch to the width on the left. In addition to improving the legs, the change allowed me to put a doorway in the background, opening into another room. The dark blue vertical balances the diagonal movement of the chair.


  1. Terrific insight into the background,​ ​development,
    and structure of "Woman​ ​with a Cell Phone." Beautiful!
    - Jeff

  2. ​I find it intriguing how the two earlier images of Telephone Call and the new one of Woman on a Cellphone change the narrative of the paintings so completely.

    The earlier images remind us there was a time when the telephone was used solely as a vehicle for conversation and verbal communication. (How quaint does that notion seem?). It did not govern our lives as it does now, providing us with ubiquitous access to the internet and fueling our self absorption with Selfies/Instagram/Twitter/Likes/Shares. The images of the couples in the earlier works are intimate. Even though they are pursuing different things - he reading a newspaper, she on the phone - nevertheless they seem to be aware of each other, sharing and experiencing the same space together.

    In contrast, the woman on the cellphone is focused on the phone itself, seemingly unaware of anything else. She seems conscious only of the object she is so singularly focused on. No doubt she can access huge amounts of information by means of that object and communicate with ever more people, but somehow she seems isolated, existing in a vacuum.

    It is all quite fascinating.



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