Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Blame it on Renoir

"Jeunes filles au piano"
Pierre Auguste Renoir, 1892

I've always liked this painting. I like the feel of the girls sitting together at the piano, figuring out a new piece of music. I spent many years at the piano, sometimes with my sisters, so I relate to the subject in a personal way. No surprise there.

When I went to a Corban College production of "Little Women" last week, I enjoyed watching my friend's daughter play the role of Amy. And I took a lot of photos. One of the photos really touched me as it featured two young women at a piano. It didn't take long to come up with the idea to paint from that reference photo.

How many things can go wrong with a painting? Well, I'm sure I hit almost all of them.
  1. I picked a smallish piece of paper for my support, which made the figures smaller than comfortable for a pastel piece.
  2. I made several drawing errors that erased the intimacy between the characters.
  3. I did not pay attention to value cues that could have tied the figures together
  4. I was faced with painting 2" faces with blunt 1" pastels.
I could go on, but you get the drift. Not a positive outcome.

But I learn a lot even from paintings that don't turn out well. Maybe I even learn more from those kinds of paintings. I plan to take my idea back to the studio today for another go at the subject.

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