Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Shaker Interior....again.

This is a 36 inch square panel, and it is the third time I have painted this scene.  The original reference slides were taken at the Shaker community, Sabbathday Lake--down the road from here--in 1985, and in 1988 I painted this interior for the first time.  I knew I was missing the feeling that I wanted to capture; there was something about the light on the wall and the shadows that just didn't measure up.  So, in 2006 I painted it again--see below--and once again, despite my very best efforts, something just didn't feel the way I wanted it to.

So, a few weeks ago, I decided to re-visit it and got out the sheet of slides and began to study them. I decided to do it larger, this time, and in a square format.  I also knew that using transparent glazes on the shadowed portion of the wall and table was a mistake and that this time I would work with mostly opaque paints and scumbled layers. (aside: a 'scumble' is a layer that is loosely applied so that what is under it still shows through, but it is like a 'veil' instead of being like a transparent gel filter, which is how a 'glaze' layer behaves.)  I also have learned a great deal about compensating for the shortcomings of photographic references.  A piece of film, or a sensor, cannot see nearly as well as your eye can, so taking this into account is critical unless you are trying to emulate the vagaries of photography in your paintings.

Finally, I wanted the wall to be 'solid', to have a feeling that you could almost reach out and put your hand on it.  I added the crack in the plaster, which I had omitted in the previous two paintings, but which was there in the actual wall. I realized that the crack anchors the wall and is a necessary part of the piece.  So, make your own decision about whether or not you like the latest version better.  I have already decided that I am going to paint this scene AGAIN, in about two or three years....so, I can see if I am really improving and learning as I go.


Teresa Evangeline said...

I do like this new version, very much. The tone of the pitcher and the light on the wall seem more true. It feels more alive, with a quiet, almost palpable, energy. The aging wall is a nice addition. It's these small things that can make a difference in how a painting feels. Beautiful, Murad.

Painting the Light said...

Murad, every time I look at one of your paintings, I can't imagine how it could be improved. But after reading what you wrote, and then comparing both paintings, I understand exactly where you're coming from. The solid, dark contrast of the wall behind the pitcher makes the painting pop. I love your other version, but this one looks so much more real. I almost believe I could reach out and trace that crack in the wall with my finger. Gorgeous work, as always!

eric perkins said...

It was extremely effective to post the two paintings so that one can quickly see either by spinning the scroll butoon. I didn't particularly like the older painting; I like the new one very much. Changing colors of the wall, the pitcher and bowl made all the difference, and yes, the crack helps.