Saturday, September 22, 2018

Kathleen's Scar

Kathleen's Scar
2018, oil on linen, 11" x 8"

I've carried this composition in my head since 1975 ... an image of a lovely woman I once knew who had heart surgery, ever cheerful despite the experience. I have no idea what became of her.

The palette is purposely subdued, her hair and scar the brightest tones, complemented by her blue eyes and the green horizontal stripe on her blouse. The colors suit the narrative, but the palette is also a color study for a larger painting I'm about to begin of two sisters, artists, in their studio.

A drawing for this composition floated around the studio for years - it's now lost - and then four or five years ago I drew it again on an 8" x 6" canvas where it lingered until early this month when I made a larger drawing that was 11" x 8".

My intention was simply to realize an image and composition that was based on a memory. After the painting was finished, standing back and looking at it, I suddenly thought about the many Renaissance paintings of saints, imagined portraits, who are identified by the inclusion of an iconographic symbol: Saint Catherine with a spiked wheel, Saint Ambrose with a beehive, Saint Lucy with her eyes on a plate or on a stalk. The strong influence of the early Italian painters upon my work amuses me at times like this ... how it subconsciously affects me. 

Saint Lucy
Francesco del Cossa (ca. 1430 - ca. 14770
ca. 1473/1474,  30" x 22" tempera on panel
National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC

Here are the two drawings for Kathleen's Scar:

drawing #2
2018, pencil on graph paper with pastel tone on reverse, 11" x 8"

drawing #1
pencil and ink on primed canvas, 7 1/2" x 6"

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quotes

"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