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Sunday, April 24, 2011

South Africa: The Hat

After publishing my first post I received several comments from those who said, "Sign it. It's finished." I took it as a nice compliment given the fact that my approach to this painting is to paint it as efficiently as possible. By this I mean to paint each stroke deliberately and with the purpose of completing the painting with as few strokes as possible. Paint to finish.( My method, for years, was to block in a painting with thin layers of paint laid down in the general area of where I wanted it to go and then go back in with a second, third and sometimes fourth layer to finally arrive at a point where I felt it was completed.) And here I must quote the great master painter Richard Schmid who writes in his book, Alla Prima
 "When is a painting finished? That is indeed the question! Some paintings are finished after only a few brushstrokes, others seem to take forever.The strength and clarity of the picture you envision at the start will tell you when you are done. You are finished when you have said what you wish to say, when nothing added can make it better."
 And because I started with a specific vision in mind of what I want to say with this painting, I cannot sign it yet. So, I paint on.

 My goal on Saturday was the hat. "This hat will surely take only a couple of hours," I told myself. It was such a magnificent hat in so many ways...the unusual shape, the bold, black color and all of the incredibly detailed beading. I wanted to tell the story of this hat. In retrospect, I must have been afraid because I kept putting off the steps I had to take to get it done (like walking down the stairs to my basement studio and picking up a paintbrush). Finally, when I could think of nothing else, I decided to lure myself downstairs by putting in a movie to watch and mostly listen to while I painted. This "trick" has worked on me before. A good movie is always so tempting. I thought an "Easter-ish" movie would be appropriate and so I chose "Chocolat".  True, it is not on the same level as "The Ten Commandments" or "The Passion of the Christ" but the story line involves the Lenten season, chocolate and the arrival of Easter morning at the end. Perfect.
Five hours and one more movie later, I have this to share.


  1. This is absolutely gorgeous! I would say "sign it" too, except I'm hooked and can't wait to see the rest of her appear. What a magical and intimate moment you have captured already with your brush.