Living room with Tree, 3pm.

I had an incredibly productive day on Tuesday and decided to start my painting for this week’s post. I worked on it during my daughter’s hour of “quiet-time” (formerly known as nap-time) over 3 days. And for once it was actually sunny 3 days in a row! My daughter was very excited when she came out from her quiet-time and saw it. She started listing off everything I had painted in third person: “Mommy paint the bushy tree, mommy paint the T.V., mommy paint the rocking chair.” Then she went to look at the living room and came back quite perturbed, demanding, “Mommy paint the couch.” It’s true, the couch should be in the very front, but there just wasn’t room. You would only see the top of it as a long brown stripe at the bottom of the painting. The composition is pretty tight and not as in “excellent.” My daughter is becoming quite the art critic.

Shadow and light.

Here is the one that I had intended to do as a painting, but it turned into a charcoal drawing. I do love the quality that charcoal gives the shadows and am very happy with this as an exploration of my shadow images. This is the corner of the living room with the shadows of my bamboo, lamp and living room blinds. The real objects in the drawing are a second lamp and a pile of mending (a ruffled skirt of Poppy’s). I know that the skirt is not recognizable as a skirt and I debated taking it out, but I felt the image needed it. Maybe if I do this view again I will make it an empty coffee table there instead. I am back and forth on how recognizable everything should be since the nature of the subject—reflections and shadows in corners and on ceilings, cropped in close—abstracts it to begin with. I guess it’s fine for the shadows to be abstracted and unrecognizable, but as soon as I put real objects in they become reference points for the viewer and need to be recognizable. Would this image work as well without the lamp and skirt in the foreground? I really liked the extreme foreground elements and the shallow sense of space, very much like old Japanese prints. Interesting though—I will have to do the next one as strictly shadows and see how it compares. I guess the first shadow work I did was all shadows and nothing recognizable, but I don’t feel that one was successful at all aside from the fact that it is the first shadow work in what may prove to be a long-term exploration of a subject.

Actually now that I’m thinking about it, maybe the problem with the first shadow painting was the lack of a reference point. Maybe the images need that to set up the space for the viewer. If I look back at the same prints I referenced in my other post—Sunday Afternoon, Good Friday, and Sackville Attic—they are all about the sense of space set up by glimpses of the ocean.

I am also starting a small woodcut based on this same image. I still have Christopher Pratt’s works in my head and he did a fair number of woodcuts and prints, mostly for yearly Christmas cards that he and his wife sent out. I love the graphic quality of woodcuts and I think the medium will work very well for the shadows. It’s just too bad that I’m a bit too lazy to do up hand-made Christmas cards. At least for this year.