Saturday, February 18, 2017

Chet's Diner, in progress

My painting of Chet's Diner has been moving along slowly but surely. All the figures are now in place and I've been working on the background.

In my previous two blog posts I wrote about paintings by Benozzo Gozzoli, Sano di Pietro, and Sandro Botticelli, and about how figures in those paintings were repeated to capture movement and/or the passage of time. I've played with the same idea here, putting Jessica, the owner of Chet's Diner, in three different places as she goes about her day: cooking, serving, and opening a window.

Chet's Diner, in progress
35" x 65", oil on linen

My neighbor's 24-year-old son, Ethan, stopped by the studio last week. His take was quite different and futuristic; he thought the three Jessicas were a trio of clones.

A few days earlier, another visitor thought they were natural-born triplets. And someone else told me that the idea made no sense at all.

I've always enjoyed and encouraged the fact that different viewers interpret my work in different ways. Probably the most extreme example happened at one of my openings when a person came up to me, pointed to a painting called Pharmacy, and said I must be seriously depressed to have produced such a bleak work; just a few minutes later another person came up, pointed to the exact same painting, and cheerfully complimented me on having a very amusing and insightful view of the human condition. Paintings in a way can be mirrors.

9" x 9", oil on linen, 1994
Private Collection

As for Chet's Diner, Ethan immediately recognized it as the setting for my painting, though when I'm done, the lower part of the walls will be colored differently ... not white but the same red I used on the window frames. The other major difference is that the real Jessica has brown hair, not blonde, but - together with the man's shirt - I wanted to bounce golden yellows across the surface.

Photoshop color study for roughly how the wainscoting will look when painted:

Interior of Chet's Diner:


  1. So interesting to hear the different takes on Chet's Diner, Andrew. I was unfamiliar with the repeated figures paintings of the Renaissance until you mentioned them, and I was thrilled to know that Renaissance artists were trying to create movies hundreds of years ago. When you showed us the CD in its very early stage, I can't remember what my uninformed reaction to the 3 figures was. But the more I know about the background of this painting, the more I love it. Cool that you used Photoshop to give us a glimpse of what the finished color will look like!

  2. Thank you Allison!
    I'm now thinking of doing a future post on how I use Photoshop.



"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

“What I am seeking is not the real and not the unreal but rather the unconscious,
the mystery of the instinctive in the human race.”
- Amedeo Modigliani