View Full Version : Thanksgiving (Portrait of Hazel)

12-16-2002, 10:59 AM

Title: Thanksgiving (Portrait of Hazel)
Year Created: 2002
Medium: Oil
Surface: Canvas
Dimension: 22 by 28
Allow digital alterations?: No, please :)

This is an oil painitng that is still in progress. I have to work more on the blouse and face.

Does this transcend the traditional portait?

12-16-2002, 11:29 AM
hey Gavin,

You've posed a really interesting question. what do you mean by "transcend?"

I think you've broken with some of of the traditions of the portrait -- in terms of the subject's gaze, posture, and orientation to the viewer. Yet, your question makes me wonder about the line between a portrait and a figurative painting. Is there a space between these two kinds of work?

I like the painting. I like the sense of contemplation and personality that you've put forward. There's a sense of serenity and strength that comes from this figure.

so, what are you trying to achieve?

best, Pete

12-16-2002, 11:50 AM
By 'transcend' I guess I am asking if my technique is new and not too much of a traditional approach. My taste and understanding is rooted in a love for color and expression; sometimes my work takes on a more banal traditional direction.

The shift to pure abstraction (for me) has been thwarted by years of illustration and tradition. I am in the process of breaking this ideal.

I understand creating something viable and 'new' is idealistic, nevertheless I am inspired to do so.

12-16-2002, 12:16 PM
Can't answer the "Trancend" question.
I like the painting.

I can only speak for myself as to creating something new.
I believe to create from my own gut(Sp?) instincts and if something new comes from that, then so be it.


12-16-2002, 12:19 PM
OK OK, forget that transcend BS.

Thanks for the comments Gin. What do you like about it?

12-16-2002, 12:33 PM
I don't think the "transcend" question is BS, Gavin. I think it's really important for those of us who are making portrait work. Afterall, we live in an age where anyone with a camera can create a likeness -- portraiture needs to strive for more. Don't give up this question so easily! <smile>

Like I said in my first post, I think there is something expresive about it. With regard to the other side, I think there's something almost there with the gesture, but the upper arm on the right side seems to be grounding the gesture, pulling some energy from it.

I'm not sure that tthe approach is new. Like I've said of your work bb4, it has something of Alice Neel to it -- her early 60's stuff (which i think has somethign to do with color) -- which is pretty amazing.

I'm struggling with some of these same questions in my work.... that's probably why I'm so interested in tthis question...

12-16-2002, 12:37 PM
Originally posted by Gavinart

Thanks for the comments Gin. What do you like about it?

Firstly immediately I am pulled in by the gorgeous red that is vibrant without being too red.

Secondly I love the dark skin. (Of course most of my friends are dark skinned) so looking at this makes me feel at home. It looks familiar that way.

I don't think it need more work.


12-16-2002, 01:48 PM
also see myself in your work
the eagerness to share partway as well.
the shadowed foreground is one of my favourite approaches.
something has to shift around the hands, is it angle? is it interface to sweater/chest?
interested to see where this goes.

my first teacher said the purpose of life is to transcend oneself.
I take that to mean grow, get past it, improve, invoke a higher nature, all that.

12-16-2002, 01:48 PM
don't even doubt it

12-16-2002, 01:54 PM
[QUOTEDoes this transcend the traditional portait?

ok, read the thread first j lol

I think this is a valid question. When does a portrait cross the line into art? I find most people are not interested in looking at portraits unless it is of them or their friends, so an artist inclined toward portraiture, but not interested in the traditional approach has some difficulties to overcome both with art history and with the general view about portraits.

I think Zekeri is a master of it, jerry takes an original and provacative approach to portraits, I think his 'transcend', and gavin, you do! I think you are on such an incredible path, it's only your doubt stopping you ...

who else? Lucian Freud is d*mn good at it

but, of course, I am an idiot and speak at my own expense, still wanted to throw in my 2cents.

12-16-2002, 03:35 PM
The lexicon..I am always irritated when someone introduces me as a "portrait painter" and I inevitably mumble the correction that I am a painter who sometimes paints portraits. I suppose it would be as irritating to be labeled a "still-life painter". It is the painting that matters of course. We don't look at Velasquez, Rembrandt or Degas any differently when they paint a portrait or a landscape.
This is a really nice painting, Gavin.
The head is gorgeous. Maybe you could emphasize the drawing of the hands and her left arm is a little weak considering the strength of the whole.
Just comments from one Painter to another;)

12-16-2002, 09:51 PM
Wonderful, elegant. The face has openings of dark and questions all around it.
Strong, clear and depictive.

I feel you have been way more transcendent with most of your work. This one shows the pressure of the struggle against illustration if you will, and a bit of bending to it.
IF you had posted this one anon, I would never have guessed.
Hate it if you will, but it is VERY traditional.
And perhaps the message here is a strong attempt to tell the story of the model.
In pushing to give her HER voice, yours is quieter.
You distinctive edge of colors that shriek from white and flicker into and out of reality is totally missing.
Is it a good or a bad thing?

You have been know to transcend. THIS is very very very good.

Rose Queen
12-16-2002, 10:16 PM
I particularly like the colors you've used in achieving the skin tones. Blue, lavender, red -- it's all wonderful!

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simon levenson
12-17-2002, 12:04 AM
This is what I expect from you... nice work...

Helen Zapata
12-17-2002, 12:24 AM
Fabulous colorwork!

Contemplative and rich.

I'd just like to see you fill out her left arm, and I'm a little lost in the hands (although I love the colors you are using).


12-17-2002, 09:50 AM
I'm with Jnett...I would not have known this was you Gavin.
At first glance, what a delight to see her so lost in prayer asking for.....whatever, then to see the painted fingernails..tickled me which led me to "remarkable hands" then to the necklace, and lastly the face. I think you did visit a different "zone" while painting this one.

12-17-2002, 03:28 PM
You said it isn't finished yet. Please don't overwork it ! The undefined eyes and the transparent knot of the veil are magnificent !

12-18-2002, 11:55 AM
Originally posted by Paintonbrush
I'm with Jnett...I would not have known this was you Gavin.

just for anal clarity ... I would know this gavin any day of the week. to me it is a natural and beautiful addition to your ouvre :)