Monday, February 8, 2010

Two portraits

I have two new paintings to share with you today.  Both seem like portraits to me.  One is the portrait of a person, and one is a portrait of a Joshua Tree in bloom.  As you already know from my earlier post, I do think of the Joshua Tree as being figurative.
Here is the second finished painting of the Joshua Tree in bloom.  You can see that having an under painting really made a difference in the overall quality and liveliness of color.  This painting is oil on canvas, measuring 20 x 16 inches.   What really interested me in this painting was that clear blue spring sky. 

We received more rain over the weekend, and little bits of green are beginning to pop up all over the place.  There is quite a lot of mud, which Pono is irresistibly drawn to.  I suppose if I were a dog, I would want to walk through soft, squishy mud, too.  If I were a dog, I wouldn't have to mop the floor, after the adventure in mud.  The drawback I can see to being a dog is having to eat kibble every day.  So, I guess I will stay human. 

I also completed a portrait of my friend Shant last week. This painting was started with a four hour painting session at Shant's house.  I took photographs the day I started the painting, and used four of the photographs as reference to help me finish the painting once I got home.  Since it was a live sitting, I wanted to try to preserve the feeling of that.  It seems as though there is an unspoken communication between sitter and artist during a live session.  That is something that is lost when I only have a photograph to paint from.  I found it interesting that when I got home and printed out the photos I had taken, each photo was different.  Subtle shifts in the position of his body, along with variations of his expression were evident in the photographs.  The vitality of a live session is what I find compelling when painting a portrait.  The impossibility of both artist and sitter to hold completely still somehow becomes the thing that I want to capture, since it seems to be the part that is most elusive.  A likeness is important to me, but there is more there that I want to try to capture.  I am looking for the essence of who that person is.

I know it is probably surprising to some of you that an artist who is so infatuated with abstraction also enjoys painting more realistic and clearly representational art.  They may seem like two completely different things.  And yet, for me, I cannot seems to have one without the other.  When I am not drawing from life, my abstract work suffers, and vice versa.  The freedom of abstraction also helps me when I work realistically.  I will write more on this later.  Happy Monday, my dear blog readers!


Nancy Medina said...

Karine, your Joshua tree is stunning. At first I thought it was a photo! I have taken a swipe or 2 at Joshua trees from time to time but never came close to what you have achieved. Pono pawprints after a muddy walk, your story sounds like a poem! : ) hugs from Texas!

ArtPropelled said...

Oh Pono, wash your feet before you come inside! Dear boy!

Amazing paintings, Karine. I also thought your Joshua Tree was a photo at first. Glorious blue sky!

Melissa and Emmitt said...

oh my gosh karine!
you are so amazing! i LOVE these portraits!
all i can say is WOW!

High Desert Diva said...

They are both wonderful Karine!

L.Holm said...

both are fantastic portraits, Karine! Those joshua trees are really beautiful. they bloom, too. I don't know much about them. And great painting of your friend. I feel like I'm sitting next to him, having a conversation. It's very immediate and fresh. great work.
I'm glad to hear you say that about abstracts and realism. I agree wholeheartedly. For me, each strengthens the other 'style.'

kate smudges said...

Another gorgeous Joshua tree painting. I love the way you've painted the blooms against that
incredible sky. I'm interested in hearing more of your thoughts about realistic/abstract life and how one affects the other.

Am slowly working up to getting back to my blog. It dawned on me that twitter has dampened my ability to type more than a fast sentence. Only took about 2 years to figure that out.