American Artist Magazine Article
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DISCUSSION -- Based on quotes from
Pompeii red, which she describes as 'an incredibly
is helpful to turn forms at the edges and provides the local color often
found in the
fingers, toes, knees, elbows, and occasionally the lips.
I made two copies of
this hand in the Simons portrait. The copy on the top is the accurate one,
and the one below is changed. In the lower image, I subtracted the red orange
from the top of the hand.
When you have a very dark backdrop on a strongly lit figure, it is sometimes
good to turn the form edge facing the light, not with darkening, but with
color. It turns out that Pompeii red and burnt sienna work very well for
this job. I've speculated about why the orangish red is the best hue --
I've seen it used by very good artists from the past -- but I'm not ready
to commit my theory to print. Suffice it to say that it works. See for yourself.
I hope you agree, where I subtracted the red orange -- in this case, with
Pompeii red -- the back of the hand seems not to turn the planes on the back of the hand. Sharp transition
between the subject and background can also pop forward, and looking at
this detail, I think the top of the hands in both images are too sharp to
"turn." However, in the context of the whole painting, that sharp
edge helps to pop the hand grouping forward of the face and blouse. Painting
is a balancing act.
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Rebecca Alzofon can be e-mailed at email@example.com
This page created: November 16, 2001
2001 by Rebecca Alzofon. All rights