Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Columbine (after Picasso)

Columbine (after Pablo Picasso)

30"×24" (76.2 x 61 cm). Oil on canvas. 2011.
I am posting this painting today for two reasons. The fist is that it goes away to an exhibition tomorrow; and the other is that I want to introduce the e-catalog now available from my website. Its printed version will be available soon via Amazon, yet the PDF I offer on my website is free and printable (that is, all images are high resolution enough for you to print it yourself). If you like the kind of background story below, you might like the book, because it's full of them.

This painting was done within the framework of a collaborative project on Google+, "Picasso Challenge", after Picasso's "Queen Isabella" (92x73 cm. Oil on canvas. 1909; left). 

Although painted after a portrait of a queen, it forms a pair to a figure of Harlequin (it's in the book, so you can read its background story there). The Harlequin was painted after a poem by Alexander Block, but one cannot really think of Harlequin without Picasso's images being invoked. 
So, I renamed my version of Isabelle into Columbine,  faithfully, I believe, to both Pablo Picasso and Alexander Block.

 As in almost all other works in the "Structures and Quotes" series, I chose a nude study from life (shown to the right) as my starting point.

I wanted to have some as it were grounding in my own reality for this work – to avoid drowning in Picasso altogether, hence the choice of a model whom I studied myself "in flesh and blood", not just in artificial flatness of another painting. 

There was also this hard to express kinship between this study and Picasso's Queen Isabel, which made the choice very simple.

The different pose and lighting forced me to study Picasso's approach to composition in a more thoughtful and analytical way. I was interested, in particular, in organization the environment and the plane around the figure. Because of the change in the pose, it wasn't enough to "copy" Picasso's background; I had to look for its structural links to the figure and apply the findings in a different setting.

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