In January/February 2021 I took an online painting class at Woodmere Art Museum in Philadelphia, PA. The class was called BLENDING ABSTRACTION AND REPRESENTATION, and over six sessions our class explored the continuum between these two endpoints of a line.
The class was structured so that we worked on our individual artworks in our home studios while participating in discussions and vewing demonstrations by the teacher. I did quite a bit of work and I’ll be showing them to you over a few posts.
Thanks to my instructor, Lesa Chittenden Lim, and my classmates, for a good experience.
Here’s a painting I did. It’s called “Please Stop Talking”, and it is 20″ x 16″, done in acrylics on canvas.
I painted a background first – the main feature of it being that red area to the bottom right and the checked section in the top middle.
There was a shape in the center that looked like a sofa. I drew it in, and added the flowers, and then the person.
But that bottem left area was a mess. I tried a few things. Finally I put in this person sitting in a chair.
Now what is going on? I don’t know. But I think there are several stories this could be telling. I have some personal ideas, but I won’t tell you. I’ll let you decide on the story yourself. That is something a painting loves to do, present itself, and let you put yourself into it, I think.
I like the tension or dialogue between the elements in this painting. The central figure seems to be surrounded in warmth with the yellow glow from the coffee table and the enveloping curve of the sofa whereas the figure in the corner is literally on the periphery and is partly concealed by that cold green and icy blue.
Originally there was nothing much in the man’s current location and it looked …like something was missing. And there was no story to it. Then I had the idea to put the man and suddenly…so many stories! That is what I like about this painting – something is going on. But what? Let the viewer decide…
The position of the person on the sofa is fun to think about. Is she getting up or just settling down? If she is getting up, why? Does she want something to drink? Have to go to the bathroom? Forget her book, needlework? Or did the other person make a request for a beverage and they cannot move because the cat is on their lap? And we all know, you cannot disturb the cat!!!!
Oh yes. the cat. The cat can do whatever he likes but if we try that…there are repercussions! I like this painting though at first it was kind of aimless, I did not have the man in there originally. I envisioned the woman as waiting for someone. LIke you visit someone’s house and they go to the kitchen to get snacks and you are left alone to look around the living room. But when I put in the man, well, now we have many more possibilities! Just what I like!
is he driving her mad talking too much and all she wants is to lie down on the settee and not have to be formal and hospitable. The title has pointed me in that direction.
When I first did the painting the man was not in it – just kind of a blank area. And the woman looked annoyed, but why, I wondered. Plus I didn’t like that empty space. So when I put the man in, well, now we have something to think about. You are right, I was envisioning that there is conversation, or there was, but – it’s not the kind where they are enjoying themselves. I think the man has overstayed his welcome. I also thought maybe she was the visitor, dropped in for some reason, and now he won’t stop talking so she can finish the purpose of her visit and leave.
Your imagination is so rich! And I love the background. To me, there is a lot of tension in the room. But, it’s still quite open to interpretation. The downside of being locked down with one other person maybe?
Thank you. You know, I did the background first. Then I wondered – what next? I like your interpretation. It is certainly hard to maintain a pleasant relationship when you are together so much and maybe these two have had enough. Now what? You know, I read a lot of crime novels, and if this were one of them…look out!
My eyes went immediately to the table, and here’s where my mind goes with this: “She had brought a basket full of yarn to finally pick up their craft evenings again, but realised she’d forgotten the knitting needles – now what?” (I think she looks somewhat surprised, tense and disappointed.)
I love this idea. It fits her expression. You know, I made the background first and then the sofa, and then a person. She is the one who has emerged. As I was working on it, I was thinking of all the times I have had to go to someone’s home, maybe for a meeting or to drop something off, and I do not know the person well, or anyone else in the meeting or whatever. Then the host goes out to the kitchen to get snacks and I am left either alone looking around the room and feeling conspicuous, which is silly when no on else is there – or if others are, making polite conversation, which I am not very happy doing. So if I am that lady, I am uncomfortable all right!
I love the color palette!
The figure on the sofa made me think of the grandmother reading to a small child in another of your paintings. She appears to be exasperated and, given the title, I think the man in the chair facing her is prattling about things that she does not want to listen to
Yes, I do think you are right, and it interests me that everyone is picking up on the idea that these two people do not get along. I am loving the stories everyone is coming up with about what could be happening. To me that is why I like to paint – to tell a story.