Whether we like it or not, art is a relentlessly competitive sport (and yeah, I kinda like it). And we are hopeless perfectionists (those of us that take it seriously). So I'm stepping up my game and trying some new things at this point. Still in the realm of portraiture and figurative work, but trying new things with it. This week, I've been doing a few figure studies, and playing with color and a little something called pentimenti.
Pentimento is an Italian word literally meaning "repentance." It's something you can often see in paintings when you go to the museum and really look at the work. However, the average time spent by the average spectator at any given work of art at a museum or art show is about 8 seconds. The average time for me is around 3-5 minutes. Yeah, seriously. Anyway, so pentimenti (plural) in painting refers to the unwanted or sketchy lines or shapes that were originally part of the painting or underpainting, and the artist has corrected them by painting over them. But like I said, If you really look closely at a painting, sometimes you can see them on the finished piece, appearing as sort of "ghost" lines or shapes. Pentimenti is very evident in drawings.. as the initial sketchy lines that are made in the early stages of the drawing. Sometimes the artist will keep those lines in the finished drawing. This is a technique I've learned from Rob Liberace, who will often use pentimento as part of the finished work, and will even use those lines and shapes to create the illusion of movement, which is what I'm playing with in some of my drawings and paintings. Here is a new painting I did en brunaille to demonstrate:
oil on canvas
I've also been playing around with other colors as part of my underpainting. I've always done my underpainting with either burnt umber or raw umber, or some other brown color. So the other day I tried using some blues, greens, and purples. It was kind of interesting. Here's that study:
The red you see is alizarin crimson, which is one of my favorite colors, so I'll probably try this again and use a lot more of it to make it something of a red/burgandy/purply ground color. Finally, here is another study I did last week sometime I think. Just another study on a burnt umber ground:
And some more stuff is coming soon. I sent in a registration for the 9th annual Juried Show at Images Gallery this week too. I've never been to this one, so hopefully they will take me in. I'm hoping to have 3 pieces at that show, and it is coming up sometime in April I think. I am also in the process of finalizing my 15 Alla Prima portraits, getting them varnished and framed. I am really hoping to get a solo exhibition, or possibly a couple solo shows for those as soon as I can once they are ready. Stay tuned for that, and for the Images show. And as always, more work to come soon. Happy weekend, everyone!