THE ARTIST AND HIM (CLUB PROMPT – SUNDAY AFTERNOON)

SUNDAY – THE ARTIST HAS A COMMISSION. SHE BEGINS TO WORK FROM THREE PHOTOGRAPHS. SUNDAY AFTERNOON IS CALM. SHE SPENDS THE DAY ABSORBING THE PHOTOGRAPHS AND ALL THEIR MINUTE DETAILS. SHE GETS TO KNOW THE SUBJECT THROUGH HIS CLOTHES, HIS EXPRESSIONS, AND HIS SURROUNDINGS. SHE MAKES SOME PRELIMINARY SKETCHES.

MONDAY – THE ARTIST GETS A LITTLE MORE INTENSE. SHE BEGINS TO MEASURE TINY DISTANCES BETWEEN EYES, EARS, CHEEKBONES, NOSTRIL TO NOSTRIL, NECK TO COLLAR, ETC. SHE MAKES SOME SERIOUS SKETCHES. HOURS OF SKETCHING AND MEASURING TODAY. THE PRESSURE RISES.

TUESDAY – THE ARTIST FINALLY HAS A WORKING SKETCH THAT SHE’S PLEASED WITH. SHE TRANSFERS THE SKETCH ONTO A CANVAS AND BEGINS TO PLOT THE INITIAL COLOURS. SHE MUTTERS ABOUT VALUES NOT BEING RIGHT AND BEGINS TO SEE IN HER MIND WHERE THEY NEED TO GO. SHE PAINTS THE CANVAS UPSIDE DOWN TO TRY AND WORK TECHNICALLY RATHER THAN EMOTIONALLY. AFTER A FEW HOURS OF THIS INTENSE WORK, SHE’S BEGINNING TO PULL HER HAIR OUT TRYING TO PAINT SOMEONE SHE’S NEVER SEEN. THE PHOTOS DON’T SHOW HOW HE MOVES OR HIS PERSONALITY SHE COMPLAINS. QUITE A CHALLENGE TRYING TO CAPTURE SOMEONE’S ESSENCE THROUGH A FEW PHOTOS. “I KEEP LOSING HIM AND THEN I FIND HIM AGAIN. I WISH HE’D JUST STAY PUT!”

WEDNESDAY – THE ARTIST MOANS THAT SHE HAS OVERWORKED HIS FACE. THE SHADOWS AND WHISKERS ARE TOO DARK NOW -SHE ISN’T PLEASED. SHE HAS PUT IN A BACKGROUND COLOR TO ELMINATE MORE OF THE WHITE IN THIS PICTURE. A PICTURE OF A CHEF IN A WHITE KITCHEN WITH WHITE CUPBOARDS AND WHITE PLATES, ANY AMOUNT OF COLOR SHE CAN GET ON THE CANVAS IS A VICTORY….BUT IT CAN’T OVERWHELM THE SUBJECT. WHAT A TASK!

THURSDAY – THE ARTIST HAS TRIED ADDING A NEW COLOUR INTO THE BACKGROUND NOW. “NOT RIGHT,” SHE SAYS. SHE ISN’T CONTENT. BUT SHE’S MADE MUCH PROGRESS ON TONING DOWN THE SHADOWS AND WHISKERS. THE FACE NOW HAS A GOOD COLOR. SHE’S ELONGATED THE TEETH AND CAPTURED THE UPTURN ON ONE SIDE OF HIS SMILE. THE MOUTH IS NOW WHERE SHE WANTED IT TO BE. SHE’S FOUND HIM AGAIN AND HE SEEMS TO BE STAYING PUT FOR THE MOMENT. THIS MUCH, SHE SAYS, IS COMING ALONG.

FRIDAY – SHE’S CHANGED THE BACKGROUND COLOR NOW TO SOMETHING MORE NEUTRAL AND FINDS IT MUCH LESS OBJECTIONABLE. SHE’S ALSO ADDED ANOTHER NEUTRAL ON THE SIDE UNDER THE WHITE CUPBOARD. AH, IT DOESN’T DETRACT AND IT ELIMINATES MORE OF THAT WHITE – THE ARTIST FINDS THIS SATISFYING. THE FACE ALSO TAKES ON ADDED DEPTH TODAY WITH A FEW MORE STROKES OF THE BRUSH. THE CHANGES TODAY ARE VERY NEAR TO HER VISION. THE ARTIST IS FEELING CLOSE AND MANAGES A SLIGHT SMILE. HE’S STAYED PUT FOR 2 DAYS NOW!

SATURDAY – THE ARTIST SPENDS THE DAY MAKING TWEAKS HERE AND THERE. SHE’S LOWERED THE COUNTERTOP IN FRONT OF THE CHEF TO MATCH THE PHOTOGRAPHS BETTER. SHE’S NOT SURE WHAT TO DO ABOUT THE “FLOATING PLATTER” THAT NOW HAS NO COUNTERTOP TO REST ON. BUT BY EVENING, VIEWING HER GOOD WORK OF THE DAY, SHE FEELS BOLD! SHE DECIDES TO TRY A LIGHT FINISH ON THE PAINTING TO SEE IF IT GIVES IT THE LIFT SHE WANTS. SHE APPLIES THE FINISH QUICKLY…TOO QUICKLY TO REALIZE THAT IT’S AFFECTING THE PAINT. THE COLOURS BEGIN TO BLUR AND RUN. PANIC! THE WHISKERS ARE DARK AND HEAVY! FACIAL ASPECTS ARE LOST – THE SUBJECT’S NOSE IS NOT THERE! THE NECK IS SMEARED BLACK! THE DETAIL IN THE FOOD DISH IS GONE! HE HAS VANISHED IN THE VARNISH! THE ARTIST WRAPS HER ARMS AROUND HERSELF CRINGING IN HORROR BEREFT OF ANY HOPE OF SAVING HIM. HER THOUGHTS ARE VOICED…….”I’VE RUINED HIM. I WANT TO HANG MYSELF!”

SUNDAY – THE MORNING BEGINS WITH THE ARTIST SWEARING HE’S NOT SAVEABLE AT ALL. SHE WILL HAVE TO BEGIN AGAIN. A FEW HOURS GO BY. SHE WALKS PAST HIM SITTING THERE ON THE EASLE BECKONING TO HER TO RESCUE HIM FROM THE VARNISH – SHE INEXORABLY REFUSES. WALKING BY THE STUDIO, SHE BUSIES HERSELF WITH OTHER PURSUITS. AGAIN SHE PASSES THE STUDIO. HE SUMMONS HER MIGHTILY…..SHE CAN’T MEET HIS EYES AND MULISHLY TURNS AWAY. BY NOON, BRUSH IN HAND SHE APPROACHES HIM – HE’S WAITING. CAN SHE FIND HIM AGAIN? PERHAPS IF SHE JUST WORKED ON THIS BIT HERE NEAR THE NECK AND CONCENTRATED ON HIS NOSE FOR A MOMENT……A FEW HOURS LATER, THE PHOENIX HAS RISEN FROM THE ASHES! RESURRECTION! SUNDAY AFTERNOON IS FILLED WITH NEW LIFE AND NEW HOPE AS THE TENACIOUS ARTIST CONTINUES…..

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5 thoughts on “THE ARTIST AND HIM (CLUB PROMPT – SUNDAY AFTERNOON)

  1. And that A! is absolutely the internal and external process that pulls an artist, the ying and the yang of creation. This is beautifully written and done from a personal perspective?

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    • Oh, really? I thought perhaps it was just her…she was my first experience really seeing an artist in action. I thought it was MOST intriguing to see all the phases she went through and also HOW FAST the painting was “done” (though she did say it would “never” be truly done). I posted that the first day I was on here setting up my blog. I was new to it then and had a surplus of writings and just put them all on at once. I wish now I would’ve waited because I actually have a series of pictures that go with this to show the work in progress. Anyway, most interesting that you say it’s the same for all artists. I keep learning. Mary was my neighbour in Saint Michaels when we were there last year. It’s a very big art community there and she painted and drew, etc. and was the one who actually educated me somewhat on the concerns of an artist. So I guess I’ve been sent to you now to further my education, huh? Anyway, thanks for checking it out.

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      • Very kind of you A! I would love to see the post published again, this time with the photographs of the artists project as the process unfolded. It sounds like you had quite a time living next door to the artist – what a great experience for you. Creating art is a lot like writing, it’s never quite done.

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        • Hmm.. I could repost, but I worry a bit about the whole copyright thing. Mary, I’m sure would have no problem letting me post her painting on here, but since her painting was commissioned by another person to be gifted to the chef in the portrait, I wonder who actually owns the rights to that painting now? They are my pictures of the painting and of course, I could just do shots that only show an unfinished product, but still….I think it might get a bit sticky, you know? I could share them with you privately…I think that might be okay. What do you think?

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          • Hi A! Sorry I forgot to answer your reply. In this case since the artist did the painting for someone else and they are now the owners, I’d probably refrain from posting your photographs of it. The owner has the rights to the painting now, unless the contract that was agreed to by the artist and owner stated something different. So I’d leave well enough alone and not share the photographs. Hope this helps.

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