Yesterday I worked on my large orange painting, which at the moment I call The Kiss Goodbye. It is a very light painting. I started questioning if I should “thicken” some areas with the white paint. I tried to do it on one area where a character, probably only I can see, is now. I didn’t get the effect I was looking for. I am going to darken up some other areas with diluted orange, because I still keep thinking about the character with the empty eye sockets looking over its shoulder with an expression of sadness. This is one of those situations when I don’t want two stories to compete visually, but they both are needed to be equally visible on the canvas.
Not sure how I am going to solve this problem. There is this very strong feeling that I should somehow highlight the skull like character, which is hunched and looking right at you while this young boy is passionately kissing somebody, who is much older and most likely dying. Well, maybe this is a bit too dramatic when I say that the man, whose profile we see laying on a pillow, is dying. He is not, but there is something about both of them. They know that this is their last intimate time together, which is going to last forever now, because I trapped it on the canvas.
What I like about the painting are the three stages of the “kiss,” which become a movement. First, it is defined by the boy kissing the man on his neck, then the kiss goes into a transitional peck on the lips and in the final stage we see the boy lying next to the man with his head turned away from our view. This “movement” also reveals emotional stages of the man who is being kissed by the boy. In the first stage the man’s face is cut, we only see his neck, then the peck (kiss) reveals both of them, but only in a transition and the last stage, when we don’t see the boy’s face, we clearly see the man crying, because he knows, all ends in the world.
The skull like figure is looking straight at us during this whole movement. It is wearing a coat and giving this hallow smile as if saying, sorry but I already knew all this would end before it even started. This painting is one of those paintings I enjoy looking at for hours.
Fear of the Blue Touch has a similar feel. The painting is just much more saturated with colors. The figure that is hugged by the boy is very close to being that hallow eyed figure which is appearing in The Kiss Goodbye. There is also this witch type of character who is just there, enjoying the fear the openmouthed guy has while the boy is peacefully leaning his head on the man’s shoulder. The man is terrified, because, well he is afraid to be found out that he is also “blue” as the boy who hugs him.
In both of these paintings, as in most of my paintings, there is this mysterious, almost fairy tale type of character(s) which is just there as some kind of reminder about that other world we are not familiar with. You don’t see these “mysterious” characters right away. In some paintings they become the main focus, in others they reveal themselves after you spend some time looking at the paintings they are in.
My dilemma with The Kiss Goodbye is about how much clearer do I want to reveal this mysterious character to viewers? I can see the character now, but do others see it too? These type of questions are distracting me from moving onto the next work without destroying what I already have. I know that if I start “highlighting” that mysterious character the work is going to change the painting into something completely new, but I know that what I already have is what needs to stay on the canvas without change.
And now, even though I have put just a little bit of white highlighting this mysterious character, the area I worked on is already driving me nuts, because I am not sure if I want to see any spots of white distracting from the two intimate figures. At the same time I really like that mysterious character with its sadness and ugliness. I get cornered and begin to drive myself crazy because I am not sure if the mysterious character is visible enough for others.
Ugh, I should stop this madness, because I do see the character clearly enough. If somebody doesn’t see it, oh well, they don’t see it, that’s why it is mysterious and not seen right away. I might be surprised by others actually “catching” that character before they see the two kissing figures.
It is amazing how our brain works. This is exactly the situation I discussed in the previous blog entry. There I said that our brain is able to connect lines even when there is a lot of information missing. That is how a few smudges of different colors suddenly become a part of a face or something else we recognize in nature. That is probably why I am more excited about paintings which indicate forms. These type of paintings give my brain more work. This “work” promotes inspiration. They allow me to see the surrounding us world in unexpected ways.
Originally written on 02-17-18