Once again, I’ve been inspired by Whitney Browne and her painterly photographs. The dancer in Double Exposure and Closeup appears once more in On Fire, completing the triptych called Triple Play. Wonderful fun to paint (I do love red), I always enjoy capturing the suggestion of movement on a static field. That most of her face is missing is reminiscent of the tangos I paint from the chest or waist down (I do love cropping an image). Thanks to Alicia Keyes for providing inspiration for the title.
When I finished painting Double Exposure, I went back to Whitney Browne to find a different view of the same woman, also a ghost image. She’s still in motion, starting to turn away from herself, and so bathed in color that I had to paint her again. Different from any portrait I’ve ever painted, the only colors I used for her flesh were violet, rose and white for her face, with the addition of red, orange and yellow for her arms, yet I still see “flesh” in her image. It occurs to me that using a palette of few colors is not so different from my work in black and white. Discovering things in each painting I do, I go to school on my own work and use what I learn on the next piece. Stay tuned…
It’s almost two years since I first worked with Whitney Browne, and her photographs continue to move me. I’m particularly fascinated with her double exposures, allowing her subjects to be in two places at once. Since I love to paint movement, whether smoke in the air, jellyfish in the sea, or dancers on land, these images of hers speak to me. It’s a great challenge to suggest motion on a flat canvas and makes for many hours of both enjoyable and excruciating painting. Because the photos are not exactly realistic, I can paint the shapes and colors without allowing my brain to name them and miraculously end up with what I think is an interesting and unusual painting.