Posts Tagged ‘portrait of boy’

This painting started with a partial overpainting of an abandoned work, which produced an uneven, partly bumpy surface. That’s a good start. When the artist dragged his brush in that elliptical line (upper right), it skipped over the pebbly surface, resulting in a sparkling illusion. This unintended effect was so inspiring that his imagination then spun out a series of associations that can’t be confined by logic, but are compelling to look at.
The initial sparkling effect of the brush reminds me of Rembrandt. He often builds up layers of paint and then he drags his brush over the crusty surface. The brush skips over the bumps and the result may be the illusion of a gold chain, some fabric texture or embroidery. When I saw this portrait of a boy with a chain (some years ago in San Francisco), I kept stepping back several feet and then going as close as the guard would allow me. From a distance it looks like a metallic chain or strap. Up close, it’s a mess of yellow blobs created by a fairly dry brush dragged over a rough surface. He used the same technique on the collar and the hat.  Looking at Rembrandt in this back and forth way has driven me crazy many times. Crazy, as in gasping and weepy.

Rembrandt van Rijn, 1606-1669
Painting by Harold Bauer, oil on canvas, about 30”x24”
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