Monday, June 13, 2016

Mental dissection of an older painting

I made this painting, Llora y Llora, back circa 2009, before I'd started selling my art. If you've been following any of my recent work on this blog, my official art website, my Facebook Business Page, or my Instagram account (@LadydeanArt), you'll know that my style and composition have evolved quite a bit since this painting was completed. I don't even have this piece logged in my inventory, and I don't actively show it.

A few months ago, tired of the painting sitting in a corner gathering dust, I got the brilliant idea to re-purpose it while maintaining the basic composition. I'd bring it up-to-date by adding more bold shapes and colors and marks to it... I'd make the background more interesting... I even figured I'd cover the frame in foil to avoid having to break it out, thus enabling me to paint on the canvas as-is.

Since then, I've read a few internet articles regarding the different options available to an artist to deal with old inventory, including this interesting post on red dot blog. It got me thinking about my as-yet-unfulfilled plans for Llora y Llora, and I found myself questioning whether I really wanted to alter the work. I decided to hang the painting on the wall in my bedroom and spend some time with it... staring at it... contemplating it. The more I looked at it, the more I realized that I don't want to change a thing about it. I don't want to enhance the background, or add contemporary shapes, or brighten any part of it. To do so might threaten the charm that it already has; a charm that goes beyond the hand-built frame my dad made for it that I stained myself with a beautiful green.

This painting captures a moment in my development as an artist, in terms of use of color, placement of line, treatment of composition, etc. The brushstrokes have a particular boldness that I was trying on as I painted on this canvas; it may not immediately seem like I was pushing myself artistically as I made this painting, but the marks remind me that this was the case. Furthermore, the manner in which the subject matter was treated appropriately reflects a sadness I was feeling as I lost my cat, my romantic relationship, and then grandmother, and was in the process of losing one of my favorite friends, who I managed to show this painting to before he passed a few months later. He loved the wispy look of the tip of the nose, and the way those brushstrokes danced with the background. I suspect that to alter this painting would also be to compromise its emotional integrity...

Llora y Llora, 40 x 30 inches, acrylic on stretched canvas with hand-built frame. Photo by Steve Lundberg.

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