Roland’s journal entries and photos detailing his aesthetic and painterly objectives, observations and summations regarding creating this painting.
Started and Finished: Painted over a couple of days in the end of July 2022.
16 x 20 inches oil on cotton canvas
The canvas was primed with acrylic gesso tinted with brown latex house paint.
Goals: Base painting off the first of this series “Symphonic Lines Held in Check.”
I drew the initial charcoal sketch fairly quickly and added a bit of paint then took the first photograph. Initially I thought I would do the charcoal lines with dramatic flow like the previous “Symphonic Lines Held in Check” piece but I finished the drawing without thinking of it. I think this sketch has a more simple blocky feel. I may use the blocks to convey groups of color.
For me, the head shape on the right was taking too much attention. To lessen that focus I strengthened the diagonal line which starts from the upper left and goes to the lower right. With green I imply that this line was the top of a wall which leads into the left side of the piece. I feared the composition would split in the middle because of the strong head shape. My hope was this diagonal line help avoid that.
My palette ended up being muted warmer greens, light blues, light reds and some yellow all pastel colors. A lot of the painting process was filling in the spaces in between the lines. I did try to plan some color areas and also think in terms of warms and cools. Generally warms come forward, cools recede. Here the whites, reds, peach, and yellow are warm and the blues and greens cool.
The overall piece has a stillness, static colors immobilized by the surrounding black lines which give a flattening effect. On the other hand the line work implies three dimensional perspectives including the contained warm and cool colors that recede and come forward. A cubist effect in my opinion.
The right side, with the head shape, ended up having more greens and light reds. The other side, with it’s almost vertical & horizontal lines has a little more blue. Just below the horizontal middle of the piece I added three dimensional depth by further defining the rolling lines making them look like far away hills on the horizon.
I wanted more open space in the bottom middle of the piece, which, to me, meant something other than lines. In hindsight it seems so small a point but it took some time for me to resolve that space with a few patches of the colors, light blue, green, purple and yellow.
I like the gray border all around the edge of the piece. I think I will continue this motif for future paintings of this series. I’d also like to give more open space to the pieces. These pieces have complex line work and open space would allow the piece to breathe and lower the tension. Everything does not need to be defined by a line or a squiggle. That said, the line work is what inspired this series and is the defining mark of this series.
I’m happy with the piece though I’m not sure I like it so still and static, I feel I would like to have more expressiveness. But I think it looks very finished and it’s definitely a victory .
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