I've been working on a painting of two artists, twins, in their studio, which is coming along quite well, but have put it aside for a couple weeks to spend some time on a simpler composition of a woman holding a fishbowl - a narrative theme that has recurred in my paintings several times over the years.
Woman with Fishbowl: #2
in progress, oil on linen, 17" x 15"
The background is all that's left to do and my main decision now is what colors to paint the stripes on the upper half of the wall: in light reds or in pale ivory tones. The lower half will be white wainscoting. I'm also toying with the idea of adding a cat - Mr. Epps - in the lower left corner. He's not in the original drawings. Will see.
I tried a number of colors for the blouse, beginning with blue. As a complementary color to the orange color of the fish, a blue should have created a lively energy, but all the ones I mixed seemed flat instead. Greens and purples were no better, and a dark grey, while seeming hopeful, also didn't work. When I finally tried red, it immediately felt right. The quiet harmony of the orange against the red suited the mood.
Here are two earlier paintings on the theme:
Woman with Fishbowl
1997, oil on linen, 18" x 18"
Private collection, New York
1980, oil on masonite, 3.5" x 4.5"
Private collection, Connecticut
Mr. Epps made his first appearance in the above painting, being Claire's cat. Meanwhile, the fish has grown over the years.