Wednesday, 28 December 2011

Questions for You - Please Help with the Muse!

I have a question for you. What do you think about painting numerous versions of basically the same subject-form, but varying the colour palette and thus mood, in each? Certainly many artists have done this in the past - think Monet and his haystacks, not to mention Rouen Cathedral. I am struggling with this and would love your input. 
The Muse (36" x 60") SOLD
One of the great advantages of having a cottage in the Haliburton (Ontario) area is the proximity to the Haliburton School of the Arts - a summer program of week long courses providing instruction in every conceivable art subject and medium at a variety of levels. 
One of the outstanding instructors there is an artist by the name of John Leonard. I have taken several of his courses over the years and benefited greatly from his experience and wisdom. During one such intensive course on abstraction I painted The Muse. Prior to the workshop I had often doodled extravagant and exaggerated figures, but had never felt confident that they were worth painting on canvas, let alone painted large. The workshop and teacher gave me permission to play and those experiences led to the inception of this figure painting. In fact, it was one of those paintings that probably would not have happened without the workshop, and when it did I was thrilled. I love the curvilinear female shapes, value contrast, brushwork and superimposed linear marks. The figure continues to speak to me - reminding me to reduce, simplify, and exaggerate the elements in appropriate ways. 

Since then I have wanted to paint a similar sized 'companion' for my original Muse and have tried, but none have satisfied me like the first. This fall I decided instead, to paint additional versions of the first Muse, and the results are below. As you can see I maintained the overall pose, figure shape, and suggestion of flowers at the right, but changed the colouring so that one is predominantly red and the other blue. they reduce the impact or originality of the first painting, by looking like copies? Maybe they are not finished? Perhaps I need to go back into each, and be less concerned with the original design, and start a new 'conversation'. What do you think? I would LOVE to hear any suggestions. Thanks for stopping by!

Southern Muse (36" x 60")

Muse with The Blues  (36" x 60")

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