Getting it right
Sometimes, I start a painting one way and it finishes very differently. But that’s in the nature of things where painting is concerned. It’s part of the eternal quest for an undefinable “done-ness.”
My painting of Bob for Subjective certainly took a few twists and turns on its way to “done-ness.”
Originally, I’d conceived of it as a portrait of Bob looking at a portrait of Bob as Henry VIII, King of England.
The connection with the Tudors is a tenuous one at first glance.
I based my choice in large part of the fact that when I asked Bob to describe himself to me during our interview he replied “I am the King of England!”
But there was more to my decision than a desire to show Bob’s wisecracking nature.
My portrait of my own father for Subjective also features an important king—the linchpin in a game of chess.
I liked the symmetry of referring to kings in both of my Father portraits.
Besides, dads are the kings of families.
Of course, this particular dad-king was having some issues.
While in theory the composition should have worked out…
...in practice I was having trouble with it.
I tried to make the frame within the frame work…
...and I tried to make Bob who was looking at Bob-as-Henry work.
But I ended up painting out both of them.
And then I gave up on that canvas entirely and started this painting.
My original canvas had become too sealed with layers paint, so I started over on a new one—a clean slate.
Everything I had learned in the last version was still with me…
...but I made a fresh start with that knowledge.
There is no right or wrong in art, no definite answer. A painting’s “done-ness” can only be measured in how the work makes the artist feel—in how it fits into the artist’s vision of what her-his work should look like.
To see Subjective in Portland, visit the North View Gallery by this Friday at 4 o’clock…
The gallery is open from 8:00 AM to 4:00 PM.
North View Gallery
Portland Community College Sylvania Campus
12000 SW 49th Avenue, Portland, OR 97219