Thursday, August 7, 2008

It's like an unfinished symphony...

...but instead of brilliance I have infused my work with halfassitute.

"Scandal" is diamond in this rough. I consider it one of the best paintings I've done. The colors are great, the composition is almost there (like everything in this post, it's only finished enough to pass the Mill admissions test) and the face is exactly what I wanted. Yay me!

Hey, remember the Queen of Clubs? (Scroll down a couple posts if you don't.) Well, fuck her. I tried and I tried to make her work, but instead of playing card wardrobe I ended up with pure Chrispy doodling. You know what? The doodling was *way* better than that awkward face. Out goes the temptress and in come the mecha-swirls! (Bad name for a band: The Mecha Swirls.) You know, if you didn't know the failure that preceded it, this would be a decently snazzy abstract work. But I reminded you. And told you scroll down and see the initial abomination. You know its shameful past. Fuck.

The tile is now "All Roads Lead to Rome" - chosen in hopes it could ascribe some meaning to a viewer. Deep, I know.

Expecting "Risk Key" - my 70's temptress? SO WAS I! What happened was a pitfall all artists know too well: The sketch was too good. I got just what I wanted in my blue boozer, so adding anything just make it look worse. With no idea where to go, I bailed after marring it only slightly. It's no where near refined enough to ever pass for finished, but it will take a major effort to work it out and keep the vibe. Fear of failure level at maximum!

So now I was down two temptresses. It was time to make more! At midnight! With the application due the next day! After starting on a Generic Medieval Babe, I was not thrilled; it seemed far too bland and felt like a unicorn - surrounded by fairies - was going to gallop into frame any minute. In other words, it resembled my target idea so much that any satire I wanted became sincerity. Onto the junk heap it went.

Its replacement... has the same problem. This piece - "Who Knows You Best?" - is also meant to capture a romanticized image. This time it's the poor servant girl. She's always there to tend to your needs. She doesn't have expensive clothing or accessories, so she makes due with what she has. Her face is round and sweet. Her eyes are sincere. She doesn't have the ruby lips of a starlet, but does it even matter? She stands by obediently, waiting to attend to your wishes. (Any wish? Hmmm...)

But is it too sincere? The static post was meant to evoke the stiff stance of servant waiting for action, but it makes for a non-dynamic composition. The flat expression is meant to show dutiful kindness without love. The view of her entering from the curtains is meant to evoke both a breech of privacy and an intimate knowledge of the charge's needs. It's a reverse Stockholm Syndrome: Her job is to be the perfect woman for you; how can one not entertain the thought? It's a nice sentiment, but is it art?

Granted, the work is obviously unfinished. There simply wasn't time to add depth to the colors and tweak the face to my liking. It reached a point where, instead of adding more paint to the palette, I just added water and smeared color around until it (mostly) filled the lines.

It should also be noted that this work, like the rest of my temptresses,was brought about by a great film. This time it was Far From Heaven, a movie that mimics the classic Douglas Sirk films in style. If you haven't seen a Sirk film - and I haven't - the style is of a wholesome 50's environment with several complex underlying issues. Visually, all colors in the film are oversaturated and bright. Suddenly the painting makes a lot more sense, eh?

Out of time and with "Risk Key" out of the picture, I was one painting shy and had to do something quick. With The Fountain - my go-to movie for painterly inspiration - I attacked Generic Medieval Babe and drowned her in broad strokes of green. The inspiration for this painting came from the "Suburban Sprawl" sketch a few posts down. Once it became clear that I can't work a paintbrush enough to do detail work, the initial drawing was toss out and pure Chrispy doodling took over. Once again, The Fountain turned my work into something about nature and plants. (It's that whole Tree of Life thing.) What is nature's version of suburban sprawl? I went with the old growth forest tapering off to fresher, greener thickets. And so "Old Growth" was the last-minute addition to my parade of failure. Yes, it is also noticeably unfinished. Whee!

Notice how I kept saying I needed one more painting? Actually, I needed two - but I quickly realized that was just not going to happen, so I went with my one remaining hot chick painting not on display anywhere. Oh, Cheerleader 3, your love of Swedish football pads my roster.

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