The Power of Suggestion

Lady Sings the Blues

I’m fascinated by the use of photographic effects to change and enhance images, so I welcomed the challenge of painting a figure within a figure in light and in shadow. Not for the first time, I was attracted to a face looking up—to the heavens? to a better world? to an obstacle to be surmounted? to a love now gone? I’ll let you decide.

In this time of Covid, the only place I can paint is in my studio at home. My husband had never actually watched me paint before now, but since we’re together constantly these days, he gets to observe, comment, and suggest at will, always with the caveat, “You probably won’t listen to me anyway.” That’s mostly true, even though he does have great taste and a good eye—I’m the one who gets to decide what and how I’m going to paint. I do, however, welcome suggestions for titles of paintings, which brings me to my point. Early on, when I just had the grisaille done and was starting to apply color and hadn’t even begun to think of a title for it, he told me I ought to call the painting “Lady Sings the Blues.” “It’s perfect!” he insisted. Well, damned if I could get that out of my head! I couldn’t even think of another title, so Lady Sings the Blues it is. The power of suggestion indeed…

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