View Full Version : It wasn't only the ceiling...

03-28-2018, 01:31 PM
Hi everyone! I don't think I've ever posted here, but as this work is the result of an "Abstracting Reality" class I'm taking, I think this is probably the forum where my work belongs; even though it isn't completely abstract, it can be considered contemporary.

This is a 24x36 acrylic/mixed media painting. The title, "It wasn't only the ceiling..." is referring to my early career in a "man's" field.

The assignment for the painting involved doing a series of life drawings from a male model, and then cutting them out and re-arranging them. The instructions were that the figures should show movement and have interesting spaces between them. In working on this painting, I was greatly influenced by an Irish Expressionist painter, Hughie O'Donoghue, who the instructor of my class introduced. Here's the example of the work of his that partly inspired my painting:
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/28-Mar-2018/[email protected]_26_SCALED_FOR_WC.JPG

If you aren't familiar with O'Donoghue, I'd suggest googling, because his work is really interesting. He uses various photos that he incorporates into his paintings. In my case, it was a photocopy of another painting (the woman). Most of his paintings are oils on gigantic canvases.

Anyway, I don't think of my painting as quite done yet. I'm thinking the male figures may need a little highlighting to bring them out of the mists a little more. And I'm also thinking I may move the box with the female figure a tiny bit to the right and a little higher as well, just to improve the composition. Many of the male figures were carrying long poles, which I haven't decided whether I should include. They make the figures seem a little more menacing, but it might be hard to pull off the addition given everything else that's going on. In addition, the sand texture that I added seems to be more prominent on the right (as viewed) and has mostly disappeared on the left. I may need to fix that too. There is a band of greenish color at the bottom and originally there were areas of that color in other spots. I may try to bring some of that green into the painting in a higher spot as a counterpoint to all the magenta. BTW, do you recognize Picasso's Blue Nude? She's now in the box and not blue anymore, but that's what the female figure is. I'm also toying with the idea of changing the female figure to something more similar in size to the male figures, but standing in another glass box. In that scheme, the box would be filled with mist and the figure only partially visible. If I go that way, I'll definitely need to bring up more of the detail on the male figures.

I'd appreciate your feedback, as I rarely do abstracts. TIA!

03-28-2018, 02:17 PM
with all the changes you're pondering it might be wise to consider just doing another piece.
i like what you've got going on here and my only concern is making sure the lady in the box is level, your canvas appears crooked in the pic.


03-28-2018, 02:25 PM
with all the changes you're pondering it might be wise to consider just doing another piece.
i like what you've got going on here and my only concern is making sure the lady in the box is level, your canvas appears crooked in the pic.

Hi la! So far, I've found it surprisingly easy to make changes to this piece. I don't think that any of the ones I'm considering would be that difficult - making changes would certainly be easier at this point than starting over! - and I'm not completely sold on any/all of the changes I'm contemplating anyway. Yes, the canvas looks crooked, but only in the photo I took. And frankly the box at the moment is only digital. I'll need to paint the box on the separate piece that's the Picasso image and can make certain the box is squared to the canvas when I permanently attach it. I'm going to do both this attachment and the other one I mentioned with the standing girl and then take both to class for a crit. Thanks for the feedback and I'm really glad you like it!

03-28-2018, 03:45 PM
These are great pieces! I'm sure you'll do well in your class with them.

03-28-2018, 05:09 PM
These are great pieces! I'm sure you'll do well in your class with them.
Thanks very much, Kay! But I can't take credit for the second (and infinitely better) one, which was painted by Hughie O'Donoghue. He's a very interesting artist and part of the Royal Academy in the UK. Here are some other paintings of his: http://www.artnet.com/artists/hughie-odonoghue/

03-29-2018, 01:06 AM
Annie, they're looking good!:thumbsup:

I'm saving your "Oiling Out and the Cause of Dead Spots" - and when Himself gets up, I'll ask him to print it for me. That's particularly nice for me because of the glare on my one bumpy painting.

La and Kreative Kay, it's so nice you've joined us here!:wave:

03-29-2018, 01:26 AM
Hey, Nancy, thanks for coming over here to see my painting and for the good word! I'm glad the Golden article looks like it'll be helpful.

03-29-2018, 07:51 AM
cheering you on, your excitement is contagious and i want to thank you for the reference.
looking forward to the next stage of your project!

03-29-2018, 08:19 AM
Looking forward to seeing the end result!

03-29-2018, 09:46 PM
ronsu and graphicali, many thanks! Yes, I had fun with this piece.

I got the crit at my last class today, and now some things are resolved (it's a yes on the Picasso woman, although in a smaller size, but a no on the box, and the green line at the bottom needs changing). The thing is, those changes will themselves lead to other issues. I'm going to let it sit for a while and then re-think where I want to go with it. I'm still excited about the piece, so you'll see the finish.

03-30-2018, 07:39 AM
Annie, I had been thinking about it for a couple days now and think that perhaps you could render the glass box realistically. The contrast created by such a move does a lot of things for your piece, emphasizing the isolation and separation of the feminine figure from the rest of the figures even further, further draws interest to that location, the placement of which gives the viewer a sense of slight unease (due to being in a slightly odd location, feeling cramped due to proximity to the edge of the frame). Whatever you choose though, I think at the most basic level the painting works, because it conveys the story without needing additional words. This is one of the better kinds of abstract, where just enough is given to the viewer to generate questions on their part, but just enough answers to keep them involved in the painting. That is not to say that abstraction of texture, color, or other elements are less useful, just that the best abstract tends to contain elements of all these while being subservient to a single element. In yours, I feel it is mostly contrast of soft versus hard and warm versus cool (yellow being warmer than red, or the inverse if one happens to think red is warmer, there still seems to be a temperature shift between these colors).

03-30-2018, 01:42 PM
Good concept, nice colors. The box looks drawn rather than painted, which I think detracts from the overall effect. Keep going!

Katie Black
03-30-2018, 03:06 PM
I've got my chair pulled up, coffee, doughnuts. :smug:

Looking forward to seeing where you go with this.

04-02-2018, 10:34 AM
Delo, thanks very much. Actually, the concept for the poured skin glass box (the figure in the mists idea) should work much as you suggest. Unfortunately, I ruined my first experiment with the concept by not realizing that the edges dry much faster than the center part, which I touched too soon. I put another layer of medium on it to fix the fingertip depression, but the thickness made it become too opaque and the figure became too obscured (note that it looks a little less obscured in the photo). The idea would be for the background to show through the "glass" layer. The female figure would be roughly the same height as the other male figures, although the box itself would be taller, and the basic skin color would be the same.

So these are images of my failed experiment, although I learned a lot so it isn't really a failure. The basic technique is to paint or pour acrylic onto a surface (it needs to be something to which the acrylic will not adhere - I used a silicone baking mat), let it dry, and then peel the "skin" off and adhere it to the painting. The first image shows the figure through the too heavy coating of medium but you sort of can see what thinner coats look like around the edges. The second image shows the backside and I've cropped it to give a basic idea of how the box would work, although I'd want to indicate some kind of perspective in the final version. And the edges of the figure would not have a ragged look, but kinda fade out depending on distance from the front. At least this is the concept. Susan, this approach would eliminate any need for a line around the box.

The idea is that I would use color/value to make it appear that only the near hand was right up against the glass; the rest of the body would appear more obscure and therefore further away behind a mist. This may be something that will prove very difficult to pull off and maybe not possible/worth the effort, but it's still under consideration right now. The nice thing about using a skin is that I can experiment without touching the actual painting, so there's no worry about making mistakes that could ruin it.

Delo, Susan and Katie: Thanks very much for your thoughts and feedback. This is why I love WC so much!

Please note Katie, you may need to go on a diet later if you nibble on donuts while waiting for my next step! I have a lot of other things to do over the little bit of spring break left at this point, and may not have time to get back to this for a few weeks.