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Archive for April, 2013

13CanistersMaggie

The merit in this drawing lies in the fact that the artist/student, Maggy Shell, went beyond the literal depiction of these still life 13Canistersobjects.  The realistic depiction of the canisters and the drapery is skilled enough, but that’s not what makes this drawing interesting.

What makes it interesting is that there are three distinct motifs: ellipse, chaos and triangle.  The ellipses form a nice rhythm on the top layer.  Under the ellipses comes the chaotic, 13CanistersMaggieAnalysiscloud-like, wafting swoosh of the cloth. (Green) The precision of the ellipses and the indeterminacy of the cloth make for a dramatic contrast, one highlighting the other.  The cloth, furthermore, is ambiguous:  is supports the solid cylinders but at the same time appears to be insubstantial and not supported by anything.  Ambiguity adds tension and tension is a good thing in art.

Enter the triangle, always a provocative shape. (Pink)  Where does this come from?  Two sources: 1) Among the cylinders there was a box with a partially open lid and under the white cloth there was some triangulation of additional fabric.  2) The imagination.

You guessed it, I’m rooting for #2.  The dark triangles at the left and right edges of the drawing are pure invention.  Notice how the triangles, pointing toward the center, focus your attention and keep you IN the composition. And it’s in the center that the geometry of the cylinders meets its opposite, the amorphous drift of drapery.  We have a little drama here. So, of course, we pay attention.  And paying attention is what the whole thing is about.

All contents copyright (C) 2010 Katherine Hilden. All rights reserved.

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13PattyRed3Horizontal

In 90 minutes.

Is it permissible to call a painting finished—fairly large, 24” x 30”—if it only takes you an hour and a half?  Yes.   Hail yes!

But this became an issue in class.  How can this be finished! It went so fast, didn’t even feel like work.

13PattyRed1This large painting was preceded by a smaller study, which took about NINE HOURS.  Here’s the study.  It seems stiffer, doesn’t it, but many compositional problems were worked out here.  By the time Patty, the artist/student, switched to the big canvas, she was so familiar with the basic dynamics that she could loosen up and play with all sorts of additional elements, like the vertical lines in the center.

As happens often, the work looks finished to me, but the artist has doubts.  The artist, of course, is closer to the work.

We often rotate a canvas in progress to get a better view of how shapes relate to one another.  In this case, both the study (which, btw, was originally planned as a finished painting, not a study) and the large, final painting were worked on in a vertical orientation. As we played the rotation game, the horizontal turned out to look better.   Let’s hear it for abstraction!

All contents copyright (C) 2010 Katherine Hilden. All rights reserved.

www.khilden.com 

http://facefame.wordpress.com

http://katherinehilden.wordpress.com

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