SENZA PIETÁ

Here's the new piece I had in the show last week at 941 Geary. It's called "senza pietá" and is an attempt at my version of the classic Pieta by Michelangelo... or rather my version of  Bouguereau's version (which I like better). Although it does contain ladies, the composition was very much out of my comfort zone. This is the first painting I've done of two full figures, and since I can't at this point justify painting giant paintings (expensive to build, tiny studio, can't fit in car, etc etc), the scale of figures was a lot smaller than I'm used to working. This is also the first piece I've ever modeled after another, which ended up creating some interesting composition problems with the background and empty space. This painting started out at 48" square, and I had an entirely different background going initially. It wasn't until I was about 75% done that the composition and background I had going started to bother me -- something just wasn't working with the space around the figures, and it took a few weeks of staring at it up on the wall to come up with a solution. that solution turned out to be unstretching the 48" x 48" canvas, cutting it down to 44" x 36", then re-stretching it. the idea of re-stretching a painted canvas seemed super risky (I had never tried it), and I was pretty sure there was a good chance of ruining the painting -- but after getting it on a new frame loosely, a generous application of water to the back of the canvas made it nice and tight. [that's the most useful canvas stretching trick ever by the way, I use it all the time -- especially as canvas' tend to get a little loose during shipping]

so that's the somewhat long-winded story of this painting. I think I will re-visit this type of composition, and possibly even the Pieta, but probably not until I can start working on a much larger scale. a special thank you to aeschleah and brenda for modeling for this one.