Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Goodbye Yellow Brick Road...

"Cello For One" (oil 20x24)

Ian Anderson once wrote a lyric that went; "I'd rather look around me and compose a better song, for that's the honest measure of my worth"... Now, I hope my worth is valued much higher than anything I've ever painted, but I think the point is, doing your honest best and not being afraid to be judged by that...

I've been becoming more and more enamored with the Russian
aesthetic of impressionism, and it's greater emphasis on everything else but exact drawing. Recently I have visited some galleries that deal exclusively in Russian & Soviet era impressionism and while it's an easy sell in my mind, it's altogether harder to achieve in practice with nothing but pure desire -- it requires an exodus from my old way approaches of over rendering, extraneous detail and just plain literalism...

It helps to slow down too... When I leave a painting overnight to set up a little, I can exploit the surface's skin with dry brush strokes that leave a much more interesting texture and random design than I ever would've achieved alla prima...

Plein air sketching can produce some wonderfully loose material from which to build, but generally wet-into-wet is the short route that more often praises spontaneity, but rarely achieves what the long road is capable of. What I'm after now is more about equalizing the quality of the journey as well as the destination, and those differences that can be discovered no other way...

This model was primarily painted from life in one session, but I wanted to take it further -- I also wanted to pose her with a musical instrument, but didn't have anything classy enough on hand. So I called a local music shop who usually only rent out for no less than a month or more at a time, but in this economy I offered $20 for an over-niter and the owner was happy to oblige.

Anyway, the background and several key strokes were layered on after the figure was 90% dry and much of the texture and over all mood effects came a lot easier this way. Setting it aside for a few days also has a tremendous effect on your thought process in developing a painting that you simply cannot get in a rush to finish.

So 'goodbye' again to a little more of the old me and my old ways as I learn another of life's lessons -- that it often takes just as much time to cast aside what I no longer want as it does to gather that which I desire.

I'm sure Elton and Dorothy probably figured that one out awhile ago too.


  1. This is a great direction you are moving. It's an easy painting for the viewer to linger. Well worth the $20 dollar cello rental.

  2. wow...I very much like how you merged the model into an interior that she actually was not in! I love the shine on the Cello.,,and some of the small details like the picture frames on the table.

  3. I absolutely love reading posts like this. Thanks so much for sharing Eric!

  4. I am very impressed by your artwork! Very sophisticated oil paintings! I follow you from now.

    Please visit my art blog at:

    Best regards - Lars

  5. Great Writing and an fantastic painting Eric! At the moment I am going through the exact same thing so it is a relief that an artist at your level still has moments of an artistic change of course. thanks again for sharing.