Monday, August 16, 2010

Staying With A Painting

This painting is based on a photo I took in Italy earlier this summer. I was fairly happy with the figures, but I felt the background was presenting the same problem I have regularly with figure paintings--it just doesn't do anything to support the figures.

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Queen Bee and Friend, 17 x 17 (before)

Last week I took it to my friend La Vonne's open studio, hoping to get some help with it. She is a great "fixer" and does wonderful backgrounds. She noticed several minor problems with the figures, and I worked on those. She showed me a nifty trick of using the shape of one hand to create the other hand with the mirror image. I copied the left hand onto a piece of clear plastic and then flipped it to create the figure's right hand. The background got layers of washes, pushing it further and further back. The lines I'd created to show the marble blocks mostly disappear (a good thing). Now the painting is clearly about the women and their conversation. What do you think about the improvements?

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Queen Bee and Friend, 17 x 17 (after)

The working title is "Queen Bee and Friend." I'd love some suggestions. Something Italian, perhaps?


Ruth Armitage said...

Hi Margaret! I love the improvements :) I'm wondering if the shadow beneath the foot of the right hand figure could be darker & run off the page to connect that edge of the subject with the border? They are great gals... love their conversation... I might think about titling it Conversation in Italian.... or something along those lines.

Anonymous said...

il parlare

That's a suggestion for the title. I like the improvments a lot. Making the background darker made it seem more finished as well. Good work! I'm especially glad you did not give up on it!

Anonymous said...

It's a much stronger painting with the improvements! mvw

Anonymous said...

Great painting. How about a very thin partial wash of the wall color into the foreground? A bit a red reflected light from the background wall?

Love the hand trick! What a good idea. Italian title: Buono mano discorsa (Good hand talk).