|Through a Curtain --original version|
|Through a Curtain - acrylic - 2011 - 36" x 22"|
The woman in "Through a Curtain" is the same friend who appeared, in a very similar pose, in "Foreign Hotel" (Easel Talk, Feb. 14, 2011.) The more recent painting is based on a photo I took during our 2010 trip to Sicily. My friend was sitting on the balcony of our hotel in Taormina. I liked the contrast between the straight lines of the door frame and the curves of the railing and the organic shapes of the vegetation outside. I also thought it would be an interesting challenge to paint a scene and figure veiled by a nylon curtain. The curtain, in fact, seemed to be the main player in this little drama, and determined the title.
The painting was completed, or so I thought, early this year, and was on my living-room wall when my travelling companion came to visit. To my surprise she did not at first recognize either the setting or herself. When I gave her a hint, she stared at the painting for some time and then asked in bewilderment, "But why did you paint me with a beard?"
I was as mystified as she was, but eventually realized that what she what she was seeing was something like this:
whereas what I intended was more like this:
For me it remained hard to see the bearded lady (who also seems to have a black face but a white arm) without squinting and contorting myself, but obviously I had to take the painting back to the studio and try to eliminate the ambiguity. I modified the outline of the dark foliage that seemed to be causing the confusion. Then I had to fiddle with the folds of the curtain and touch up other parts of the scene. My friend hasn't yet seen the revised version, but I hope when she does she'll recognize her beardless self!
Please note: from now on I will be adding posts to this blog about once a month. Look out for the next instalment in early June. I'll email the people on my "Notify" list--let me know if you'd like your name added--and will also announce it at www.twitter.com/EaselChirps. Meanwhile, if you're in the Vancouver area and would like to see the real thing, please come and see paintings at the annual art fair Art in the City this weekend (May 6 - 8) at the West End Community Centre. I'll be sharing a booth with Suzan Marczak (www.suzanmarczak.yolasite.com ) who will be showing ceramic sculpture. Hours and address at www.westendcc.ca . Admission free!