Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Absinthe Night - Radical Changes, Session Two

It always surprising me how much a painting changes during the process.  Even in a painting completed in
one day, painting wet on wet in oils, the painting evolves as the artist acts as critic during the process.  I tend to recognize discrepancies in my work at intervals, sometimes by moving the painting to a different room, where the light is different and not reflecting off the wet paint and sitting at a different perspective.  I'll watch TV or read a book, periodically looking up so I can hope to view the painting as an observer who hasn't been looking at it during the past few hours.  This is the only way I can get perspective and sometimes I realize I'll have to sleep on it and view the painting in the morning in order to see it with news eyes.  That's the only way to view it for, looking at a if fir the first time.
While painting "Absinthe Night", an 18X24 piece in oils on canvas, I am constantly making radical changes.  I changed the round table to square, altered the figure on the far left by enlarging his body and rubbing out what was a decent face of a 9 to 12 year old boy, reshaping the head and starting the face all over to try and make him look over 21 years old. I also scrubbed out the face of the red-haired woman on the right and turned her head more three quarters than side view. I broadened the bodies of the two figures in the middle and started to flesh out their arms more.
Standing back I realized I didn't like the background color so changed it to a different and lighter shade of green than the door.
The room is slowly becoming less and less like my living room and more like a room I've never seen before. This saddens me a bit but what might look good in my house, is not working with the somber colored clothing of the figures.  So far I've left the curtains as they stood at the end of the first day, but now I'm not very happy with them any more and may change them but haven't yet figured out what color and what sort of
atmosphere do I want.  With  brighter color curtains I'll create a more exciting kind of vibe, but I see Absinthe as a drink one would imbibe what one in a dark place, kind of on the sly, and while my living room has copper colored metallic looking fabric, the room is much darker in real life than the palette I used.
On the third session of the next day, I painted the second figure from the left based on a writer friend who is part Cherokee.  Somehow he ended up looking more Middle Eastern or Spanish and I can't quite yet figure out why, so don't know what changes to make.  The second figure on the right who is standing, is based on a female writer friend,  but once I completed her face, she only looks slightly like her.  And the female figure on the far right, which represents a younger self-portait looks more like a Victorian woman.  This is not surprising since I've painted and drawn many Victorian women and love the era in art.
I still have more work to do on the eyes of the two men on the left, and in adding the glasses, bottles, trays, silver spoon, sugar cube and other items related to the Absinthe ritual on the table, as well as items on the shelves. 

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