Saturday, July 26, 2008

Second verse; not as good as the first

While waiting for the gesso on Dana's box to dry, I still had the itch to do some painting. Some interesting stuff happened, but the lack of Cate Blanchett soon took its toll.

It's become clear now that the theme of the latest "On Beauty" additions is temptation. The first painting (in the preceding post) is meant to evoke the starlet scandal of early Hollywood. She's the woman that *almost* makes it worth screwing up your life. Disaster surrounds her, but that only manages to make her more seductive.

This next painting is given away by it's (working) title: Risk Key. This time, the temptation comes in the form of the storied key parties of the 70's. You have to ask yourself: Can I be a swinger?

Since each of the paintings so far have been created while watching a film, it would make sense that this was painted while viewing "The Ice Storm." Yeah, I was watching "The Last King of Scotland." It didn't hold my interest, clearly, so the painting just went where it wanted to go. I had very little control over it.

While the result is interesting both visually and conceptually, it was frustrating to get this framework down. I always start my paintings with a brown or maroon "sketch" - NEVER blue. I chose blue with the idea of painting an Ugandan beauty - eh, it made sense at the time - but this annoying Scotsman kept getting in the way. Blue is a bad sketch color because alone it's too bold and when watered down it doesn't thin as nicely as I'd like. I had to squirt in some precious white paint (I consume white paint as if it were candy) to get proper tonal changes.

This next painting is where things really went off the rails. The movie this time was "The Darjeeling Limited." Wes Anderson has so much style in his films that it almost overpowers mine! It's only fitting that the woman created here is subjected to an ornamental and cumbersome outfit.

The face was a disaster from the start. After getting the first painting sketch to a stopping point, I still had paint. Well, heck, why not start another. During "The Last King of Scotland." A movie that only inspired by losing my attention and causing my mind to wander. Brilliant. (It's not a bad film, honestly. It just had the unfortunate timing of being seen between films that were either wonderfully done or stylistically intriguing.) The painting didn't start to find its form until "Darjeeling" was started.

The goal was actually to work with another stylish film: Juliet of the Spirits. Problem is, I can't paint a woman with the round, sweet face of Juliet. If the face looks out of place, that's because I gave up and went with what I know. The rest of the painting will have to be nudged along until it all fits together.

What is the temptation here? I suppose the ornate settings of Wes Anderson lore made me think of the ornate trappings that constrained women of the, uh. Fuck, what crazy British era *is* that? ANYWAY, once I settled on that I mythologized further and turned the woman into a playing card. I'm thinking by the end, she'll be the "Queen of Clubs" - a name that certainly implies some dangerous temptation, no?

The poorly rendered praying hands were meant to give the idea of the unobtainable temptation. Not only does one have to go through several layers of clothing to get at her, but she's also the good girl who would never let herself indulge in bodice-ripping fantasies. The seemingly unobtainable always has a way of seducing.

I'm not sure what direction my queen will follow as I try to improve/fix that beginning, but it should be interesting.

The question now is... what's next in my slide show of harlots through the ages?

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