View Full Version : Cuddle I

Zach Sawan
04-22-2009, 01:20 AM

Title: Cuddle I
Year Created:
Medium: Oil
Surface: Wood
Dimension: 13.5 x 19
Allow digital alterations?: Yes!

I kind of went a little awry in my aim to push my work towards abstraction with this piece, but I'm still pleased with it. I tried something a little different, specifically in regards to the checkered pillow, in that I kept it flat and more of a texture than rendering it realistically. I like the way it looks in contrast to the guy's head and am going to try and continue to mix up my compositions with elements other than straight rendering. I think the contrast will be pretty pleasing.

One part of the painting that I'm a little unsure of is the green area above the figures. I was kind of going by the photo I was working from and kind of making it up. It seemed like a good place to keep things simple but a little textured, as well as cooler in tone in contrast to the overall warmness of the rest of the painting. I think I'm cool with it but I don't know, any opinions?

thomas w
04-22-2009, 07:05 AM
I like everything as is. You have a wonderful style going here, I like the abstract figures very much and your modeling is excellent. The subject matter is also very endearing. Nice work.

04-22-2009, 08:27 AM
I didn't even see the green until I read your question about it. It's fine. I know the figures are abstracted, but her shoulder is slightly over the top compared to the rhythm of the rest of this.

I love the entwined figures, and the very skillful handling of the color, value, shading, forms. I think this is an excellent paitning.

04-22-2009, 10:34 AM
Zach--I enjoy this painting. I think whats cool about it is the fact that at first glance it looks like, say a figurative genre piece. A piece about a family or group sharing a nap. But after studying the painting for a second longer, one begins to see the distortions in the figures and the push and pull of different planes...ie. the checkers. So in a sense I think you've made a bit of a visual game with this painting. You first look at it and say "awh"...what a happy family.....but at closer examination, one begins to feel tension at the unfamiliar ie. disproportionate limbs, awkward positions. To me it reminds me a bit of Mannerist ideas, with a slight lean towards Picasso's cubism with modeling. I also checked out your blog....cool stuff. Chad

04-22-2009, 11:08 AM
OK, I was really disturbed by this painting. In a odd, curious, yet fantastic way. The limbs are off, seemingly intentionally - I love her arm going under his shirt, her other arm looking so stretched and uncomfortable, the squished face of the dog, their heads being so squished, his arm going around her, only it isn't really around her waist - it is under her shirt or in the dogs face or what? However, I agree with Lynn that the bend in her left shoulder, and her left arm below the elbow, is just way to over the top distorted for the rest of the painting. Either make other more exaggerated disturbances in 2-3 other areas, or modify her left arm just a bit.

I love the green. It isn't noticeable until you mention, and it balances out the other mild shades of purples and blues. Wow, it really is a powerful painting. The execution and skill are superb.

PS - I love the title too. I thought it was going to be so cheesy, but it is such a great pun!

04-22-2009, 12:57 PM
Zach...this is one sexually charged gritty painting..right out of the Hooks district of Buffalo...someplace you wouldn't want to go...and your title..I expected to see a cute watercolor of someones grandson hugging a teddy bear..not!! I had to check your profile..a Canine Playtime Supervisor...yaaa right....what devious metaphor is this I wonder.(:..I realize your looking for a critque...unfortunately I don,t know anything about painting.

04-22-2009, 01:43 PM
This painting is exciting!

I find it highly sexual, mesmerising, and the contradiction of shapes fascinating.

04-22-2009, 01:47 PM
There is something really weird and disturbing with this painting: how can people that should be very comfortable look so uncomfortable and distorted at the same time? I have a gnawing feeling that at a deeper level there is something wrong is this superficially peaceful scene... Wonderful and haunting painting!

04-22-2009, 03:05 PM
Remarkable artistry and skill. The green top is fine IMO
I know you're distorting the figures but notwithstanding this, I think you need to seat the man's head into the pillow as you've done with the dog.

04-22-2009, 05:41 PM
My favorite of what I have seen you post so far. The tension in this is incredible, and makes for a very interesting scene.

04-22-2009, 08:24 PM
too cool.......the fabrics are great...the wrinkles move my eye so well........
the more I see...the more I like....yd

Dale Ziegler
04-22-2009, 09:24 PM
I AGREE THAT IT IS DISTURBING. because it is too realistic to be an abstract.
You certainly have full control and render the subject beautifully, however I would like to see you go totally abstract or totally realistic. His hand over the pillow really bothers me. just my opinion..... dale

04-23-2009, 05:39 AM
Zach this reminds me of a Spencer, although I'd need to check to find out why. Her left arm seems to be like that of a rag doll with some stuffing fallen out. She would not be able to move the arm. That suggests to me a vulnerability. Yet the man is at pains not to abuse this. His lower position on the canvas suggests to me not that she is dominant but he is also is vulnerable to her. In fact they have both made themselves vulnerable and open to each other to find closeness. I think the faithful dog enhances this suggestion.

04-23-2009, 05:41 PM
OK, I take back what I said. The arm is disturbing, but if I try and fix it, it only then moves my eye to the next most disturbing thing. His head for example. And if you "fix" that, and then the next thing, and then the next.... then eventually you have a pretty dull, average painting that misses the point. And the point is these two people are odd and vulnerable and therefore, as mickey says, they are "open to each other to find closeness."

Here's what I edited, but I post only to show that my comments were wrong, you should not "fix" it at all - you should let it be, as is, perfect - perfectly disturbing. Otherwise I wouldn't keep coming back to this thread! This is one of those paintings I would never buy and put in my dining room, but that I will store in my memory forever. Thanks for giving us a view!