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Sometimes a painting doesn’t work because it’s too complex. The artist may love the individual colors, while finding that they don’t hang together. Zooming IMG_5880in to a passage of the painting may lead to new inspiration. Here, on the right, is the original, troublesome painting, 30”x20”. By isolating the lower left corner and using it as a point of departure for a new, large painting, the artist saved the day and produced a fresh, dynamic painting. (See above)
Painting by Jane Donaldson, acrylic on canvas, 20” x 30”.
All contents copyright (C) 2010 Katherine Hilden. All rights reserved.
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IMG_5184
I took all these close-ups at the MoMA earlier this month. What you see is how I framed the shot as I stood in front of the Matisse painting. There was no tweaking in Photoshop. Now that I have these passages in a series, I can see my eye at work. They all have my compositional bias and look like something I might have painted, if I say so myself.
Tomorrow you’ll see the whole Matisse painting here. I invite you to copy and paste the image into your own computer and play the cropping game. Chances are, you’ll learn something about yourself.

IMG_5185

https://artamaze.wordpress.com/2014/12/29/matisse-zoom-four/

https://artamaze.wordpress.com/2014/12/28/%EF%BB%BFmatisse-zoom-three/

https://artamaze.wordpress.com/2014/12/27/matisse-zoom-two/

https://artamaze.wordpress.com/2014/12/26/matisse-zoom-one/


All contents copyright (C) 2010 Katherine Hilden. All rights reserved.
http://facefame.wordpress.com
http://katherinehilden.wordpress.com
http://www.katherinehilden.com
http://www.khilden.com

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IMG_5170
These passages from Matisse are a sort of gift in speechless delivery.

IMG_5183https://artamaze.wordpress.com/2014/12/28/%EF%BB%BFmatisse-zoom-three/

https://artamaze.wordpress.com/2014/12/27/matisse-zoom-two/

https://artamaze.wordpress.com/2014/12/26/matisse-zoom-one/

All contents copyright (C) 2010 Katherine Hilden. All rights reserved.
http://facefame.wordpress.com
http://katherinehilden.wordpress.com
http://www.katherinehilden.com
http://www.khilden.com

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IMG_5176
By now you’re probably thinking there must be more to this than looking. You’re tempted to guess what Matisse painting these passages are taken from. But no, it really is about looking.

IMG_5177
If you can’t let go of the guessing game, just keep looking. Stay with it and your mind will turn off the verbal mode and you’ll go visual. Ahhh!

https://artamaze.wordpress.com/2014/12/27/matisse-zoom-two/

https://artamaze.wordpress.com/2014/12/26/matisse-zoom-one/


All contents copyright (C) 2010 Katherine Hilden. All rights reserved.
http://facefame.wordpress.com
http://katherinehilden.wordpress.com
http://www.katherinehilden.com
http://www.khilden.com

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IMG_5174
The intention here in showing you these passages from a large painting is to invite you to feast your eyes.

IMG_5175

https://artamaze.wordpress.com/2014/12/26/matisse-zoom-one/
All contents copyright (C) 2010 Katherine Hilden. All rights reserved.
http://facefame.wordpress.com
http://katherinehilden.wordpress.com
http://www.katherinehilden.com
http://www.khilden.com

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ArleneOct14
When you’re working on a painting you may get to a stage where discouragement sets in. Happens often, actually. You make a sour face as you look at the work; you wave at the latest section you worked on and you say, blecccchhhh; you’re ready to go over the whole thing with purging, purifying white because you see no hope in the mess you made. Let me stay your hand. The mess you made is full of new life and new ideas!
Above is an example.
ArleneOct14Crop1Right. It doesn’t work. Not as is, not as a whole. But there are passages in there that can spur you on to new insights and new directions in your work. Crop! Place strips of paper over your work and isolate passages. It’s all your work, you did all this, you just didn’t see it. By cropping you see what you actually did.
I particularly like the next passage. The yellow/ochre had been scraped away partially to reveal blue ArleneOct14Crop2underpainting, resulting in a rich texture and forceful markmaking, neither of which were appreciated before the passage was isolated. I look at this and imagine it as a big canvas.—————————————-————-
(Arlene Tarpey, acrylic and pastel on paper,~20×16.)
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14MarchPassageMThere he is.

This is a passage from a larger painting. (See previous post). The black shape is composed of energetic brush strokes, with no intention of depicting anything.  But there he is, you can’t miss him and once you see the man in the black brush strokes, you can’t not-see him.

This happens all the time.  You think you’re slashing away with your big brush and your gooey oil paint, with no thought of representation, and, behold, humanoid shapes keep emerging, faces and whole figures.  IF you can see him, you have to count on others also seeing him.  At that point there’s nothing to do except to decide whether to keep the form or to rework it to make it ambiguous.

If you decide to keep it, you have to count on the fact that this humanoid shape will dominate the painting.  That’s just how our brains are wired.  I’ll give you something you can recognize, especially something relating to your own species, and WHAMO, your brain can’t let go of it.

Abstract painting—painting “nothing”—is harder than that audience out there thinks.

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

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http://katherinehilden.wordpress.com

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