Saturday, August 27, 2016

Young Man Smoking

Young Man Smoking
6 1/4"  x 5 1/2"     oil on linen     2016

My son, Alexander, smokes, and this composition comes from a quick sketch I drew in June. He was wearing a Boston Red Sox cap and a dark grey jacket, but my vision was to go with a red palette against a warm background. The white and black notes work to energize the reds.

initial sketch
4" x 3"     drawing on light-yellow lined paper     2016

Smokers have been a recurring theme in my work for many years. For one, I smoked when I was young and can identify with the movements and rituals involved. I also very much like being able to use the interesting hand gestures made when smoking. While the gesture serves the narrative, it's also an important part of the abstract design of the painting, helping to keep the eye moving.

Woman Smoking: Eliza
7 1/2" x 6"     oil on linen     2009
Private Collection, Maine

Smoke Ring
9" x 9"     oil on linen     2009
Private Collection, New York

After the initial sketch of Alexander, it took three more drawings to fully develop the idea:

drawing #2
4 1/4" x 3 3/4"     pencil on graph paper     2016

drawing #3
6 1/2" x 5 3/4"     pencil on graph paper     2016

drawing #4
6 1/4" x 5 1/2"     pencil on paper with pastel tone on reverse     2016

The "B" on the cap was lost when the cap was painted. I felt that it was too much of a distraction, grabbing too much attention.


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1 comment:

  1. I've always like your smokers compositions. As you wrote, the hand gestures are fascinating. It was something I often talked about when I briefly worked on a cigarette account when I worked in advertising. Although red is a warm color, against the beige and taupe the color palette almost seems cool to me. Love it.



"There is more power in telling little than in telling all."
- Mark Rothko

“The mind loves the unknown. It loves images whose meanings are unknown, since the meaning of the mind itself is unknown.”
- Magritte

"Now, the idea is to get everything right -- it's not just color or form or space or line -- it's everything all at once."
- Richard Diebenkorn

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the mystery of the instinctive in the human race.”
- Amedeo Modigliani