View Full Version : Safe in the middle

05-16-2012, 04:10 PM


Title: Safe in the middle
Year Created:
Medium: Oil
Surface: Canvas
Dimension: 80 cm x 60 cm
Allow digital alterations?: Yes!

I often paint a statement. Which one I leave up to you. Keywords: ego and threats.

I'm curious, what's your opinion about my painting?

05-16-2012, 07:53 PM
Wonderful painting technique. Wacky and wild imagery. Don't have any insights into your "statement". Help us out?

05-17-2012, 03:02 AM
Well painted. I like your style, your subject matter, your colors, your composition. Wacky is the word all anom used, and I'll stick with that as well - wacky in a really good way. I don't read it according to your title, but that does not matter at all - you can name it whatever you want. I especially like that the more I look at it, the more details I see. Really fun stuff like the reflections of the faces in the mug. If I had to analyze it, I would say green zone = threats, yellow zone = fear, blue zone = sadness and red zone = happiness. I don't know what the birds mean, except being interesting, but with the usb stick, cigarettes, watch and paper you have covered technology, bad habits, time and disappearing traditions. And the snake divides the painting in half, but without really breaking it up, it is subtle enough to work well.

Crit - my only crit is the wing below main bird's beak - it took a long time to read what it was, I thought it was some sort of annoying bag or slide or something. Now that I read it as a wing it is much stronger, the wing is inviting us in, saying, look closer, look in my eye. But please fix it so it is more wing-like.

05-17-2012, 05:45 AM
@ allanom: First of all, thank you for responding and complementing! About my statement: AllisonR does very well, so you could read hers as good as mine. I like to tell with a painting, but I don't think it's very important wether the observer tells my story or his or her own. Please read on in my responding to AllisonR.
@ AllisonR: Thank you very much for responding and making such great efforts in comments. As I stated above you did very well. To complement: The birds represent 'ego'. The centre (middle) is a comfort zone, peoples ego's grow because there are no challenges. As to the colors in the background: I was thinking of people of different races (colors).
At the edges people are drifting away, in the middle, with less challenges, ego's grow. There is no judgement in my painting (I hope). Further on it is hard to me to explain in a language that is not my own, so I hope I told you what I tried to tell you!:D
About the wing: You're absolutely right. I hesitated a long time to paint it as I did, mainly because bird's wings are on the inside feathered as well. Finally I did it as I did. This way ego is somewhat vulnerable.:)

05-24-2012, 05:30 PM
Anyone else on my painting? In addition to my first question: Does it lacks spontaneity? And should I, in your opinion, redo the wing ((to make it more recognisable)?

05-24-2012, 06:12 PM
:thumbsup: I like it. I think the painting is very interesting and holds the viewers attention. I like your use of colours.

Jody Schmidt
05-25-2012, 01:06 PM
Anyone else on my painting? In addition to my first question: Does it lacks spontaneity? And should I, in your opinion, redo the wing ((to make it more recognisable)? Definitely does not lack spontaneity. Definitely don't redo the wings! Color variations create a mapped pattern that does not rely upon tonal variations, shade or contrast. Superimposed upon this is the semi-regular pattern of background faces. On top of this birds, cup, paper, USB, cigarette, snake and watch interact in the foreground in an arrangement of crescents, circles, lines and squigglies.
But, most of all, I notice a slight compositional similarity between this and the last one I posted and which you commented on: an almost forcing together of wedges of color and space forming a hub and spokes composition.
Although this one obviously required 1000x more technical proficiency to create!
Now, as to 'ego and threats', I assume the primary bird's ego is somehow being challenged as he stands with his wings defiantly postured, similar to a person with hands on waist. There is possible symbolism in all the other elements: a rival bird, a dangerous snake (or a prey snake), bizarre faces right under his feet, the endless passing of time and race toward death, as well as Allison's observations and the fact that the title suggests he has found some safety situated at the hub of the color fields and other elements. This one works.

05-25-2012, 01:39 PM
I do like your painting, the technique is very pleasing, and you have a lot of imagination. I agree the wing is very ambiguous and is distracting. The composition seems a bit bottom-heavy to me, with too much weight with the black birds, leaving kind of an unbalanced area in the far upper left. The little watch almost fixes it but it would need to be a bit higher to the left.

The symbolism is lost on me, but that may or may not be important. One of the double edged sword effects of abstract art is that it IS abstract and can mean different things to different people. If an artist paints a big red rectangle on a six foot square canvas, one viewer may come in and say "wow, this is all about how much the artist hates his mother", and another may come in and say "wow this is all about being in love with his first girlfriend" and another may come in and say "god, my five year old could paint something better". But actually, the artist just found an extra old tube of red paint and wanted to use it up before it dried out. But that is the point of abstract ideas... they leave the detailed definition up to the viewer.

You can build a continuum, like "Betsy the cow, cows in general, cattle (cows AND bulls), livestock (pigs, chickens, etc) , farm animals (include the cat, the dog, the unwanted rats), farm equipment, farming, agriculture". Betsy the cow is part of agriculture, but there is much more to agriculture than just Betsy, or pigs or chickens, or the tractor.

So maybe it is just a black bird to some, to others it is a black man that stole their car, or a divorce lawyer, or a catholic priest. Or "truth", or "justice" or "famine". You were not specific, so your viewer tells the story.

But on the other hand, if you leave it "up to us" to figure out what you meant, do not be surprised if everyone guesses wrong.

05-27-2012, 05:17 AM
@ JoyCF: Thank you very much. I 'm pleased with capturing your attention.
@ Jody Schmidt: You certainly read the bird's posture well (anyhow, how I wanted to paint the bird in the middle). Funny how my own words echoe back to me.:lol: I'm very pleased with how you see my painting. Thanks, also in making great effort. It's appreciated!
@ AllanFink1960: Yes, you're right in your comment: my painting is compositionally heavy on the bottom, though I needed your comment to see it. In future makings I'll try to avoid (but I'm afraid it's too late in the current painting I'm working on:lol: !) it.
Dont misunderstand me: I agree also on your staement concerning the meaning of this painting. It's not the maker, but the viewer, I think, who tells the story: his own. Yet, it's 'important' to me that the observer makes one. Which one is not my concern. Maybe I shouldn't have bothered telling a part of my story.
Thanks a lot, in the long run I think comments like yours will improve my work!