The last little while has produced two commissions that called for canvases that would fit in niches, and arched niches at that. Here’s a little of the process and the result as they look in their unique settings.
The lively girl and (at rest) me.
The first was another in the flamenco dancer theme, this one painted with broad brush and long sweeps. The source material was a photo I shot a year or so ago and have referred to a number of times for paintings. This is how it looked the day it was delivered and hung in a new custom home in La Quinta, California. What doesn’t show is the immense length of the hall, with the painting providing a wonderful focal point at the far end. Another thing it doesn’t show, and something we didn’t think about, was the significant challenge to get it hung. With the tolerances so close, once you’ve hung it on the hook, how do you get your hand and arm back out?
A copy of the plans provided accurate measures for the arch…an actual circle (unlike the flamenco).
For the next one the tolerance weren’t quite so close. Not that I’d necessarily learned on the first one, but the width of available canvas determined the size this one would be. The painting was to fill a niche in a newly remodeled church lobby in San Clemente. Construction was still in process when I went by to check out the space. That’s my blue tape on the wall establishing parameters.
Wanting to modernize it a bit, I had Anne take pictures of me imitating the poses of the three figures. (Very strange.)
The pastor had a particular painting in mind that he wanted me to reproduce in my own style. It was to be a representation of Rublev’s Icon of the Trinity, a famous 15th century painting for the Orthodox Church, now housed in the Tretyakov Gallery in Moscow. I did a bit of research and learned it’s considered the most perfect icon painted. Besides the trinity, it depicts the three angels who visited Abraham at the Oak of Mamre, a famous Old Testament story.
Once again, the size of the piece taxed my studio space.
In the end, I realized modernizing it wouldn’t do it justice. I suppose Andrei Rublev knew nobody could really hold a pose like that, that shoulders aren’t really that round, or hands that small. But his was a high point of a style long established, and who was I to try and improve on that? My style additions were limited to thrown and dripping paint, acrylic overlaid with oil, with passages of gold and variegated leaf patterned in.
The skeleton as it appeared at the framer.
Here’s a significant part of the painting that no one will ever see. This is the custom stretcher bar apparatus as it came from the carpenter and before the canvas was cut and stretched.
Rublev’s Icon of the Trinity, my version, 99×78 inches
And here’s the final piece in its new home, all eight by six feet of it. I must say the reception has been very positive. These photos don’t do it justice. Anyone wanting to see it in person can likely make arrangements with the San Clemente Presbyterian Church, or certainly on a Sunday morning. And you’ll hear a good sermon, too.
Fall Show at the House, Nov. 21, 22
Mark your calendar for the next show at the house. The season will be perfect for shopping, for yourself or for others, with a broad array of subject matter, approaches, and prices.
November 21, 22
33752 Big Sur
Dana Point, California 92629
Laguna Art Walk, Thursday, Nov. 5, 6:00 pm
Studio 7 Gallery (Hyatt)
1590 South Coast Highway
Sandstone Gallery (Anne)
384-A North Coast Highway
Laguna Beach, California 92651
12:00-5:00 (closed Tuesdays)
I’ll be in Gallery 7 starting this week every Saturday, not Thursdays as announced last time. Anne continues to be at the Sandstone Gallery on Thursdays. Come and see us.