Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Painting in progress -'City of Glass 10 - StillmanStillman'

Day 3

In defiance of Matisse's dictum: '.....whoever wishes to devote himself to painting should begin by cutting out his tongue..' and perhaps because this series is inspired by words, by text, words are flowing irresistibly and helping clarify ideas and understanding of the paintings.

Once again I'm sharing a studio with Janie M Mcdonald at Bodmin's Shire Hall and once again there is a fantastic dialogue and discussion of ideas.

I am fascinated by the idea of twin-paintings/pair of paintings/diptych and the power of the space between them and the central line.  The idea for this painting goes back to the Paul Auster's novel, where the 'detective' has an assignment to follow Stillman, recently released from jail, who is arriving at New York's Grand Central station on the 18.41 from Poughkeepsie.

Quinn has a photo (several years old) and spots Stillman, wearing a shabby brown overcoat, and starts to tail him. But incredibly he sees another man, whose face 'was the exact twin of Stillman's'. Paralysis - Quinn knows he is in the hands of fate, of chance. Forced to choose, he follows the second Stillman but after a few paces has a change of mind and follows the first Stillman.

The idea with this painting is to involve the viewer with Quinn's dilemma- the viewer becomes Quinn- the life-size figures and the split canvas help achieve this.  

Not there yet- I have yet to think about colour- my paints are still not fully unpacked and laid out, In my impatience, I have just been grabbing anything to hand!. The grid of Midtown is beginning to go in- but I'm not yet sure of the scale. The blue strip on the right will stay, representing the East River and I'm happy with the position of my 42nd St (the main horizontal). I'll make a point of Grand Central Station, currently the rose block on the right canvas - but shall try it straddling the dividing-line.  Whatever I decide, this line will be one of the avenues.  The figures need to be locked into the backgrounds more -they are floating about. Blue may spill/flood into the right side or the dirty pink will darken and match the tone of the brown overcoat.

The figures have changed a lot. First, the left hand figure was walking towards the viewer and the right hand figure away. Then they were both coming forwards. Then I had the idea that each figure, each canvas,would be near identical, each including Grand Central station.  This would be like two frames on a film, divided by the centre-line, but the figures lacked movement but I'll try this again in another piece.

Day 2 a.m.

Day 2 p.m.
Janie and me-happy to be back in the Shire Hall!

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