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  #1  
Unread 01-03-2014, 12:18 AM
Rick Mullin's Avatar
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Default Still Life with Cello


Still Life with Cello, oil on canvas, 36" x 48"
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  #2  
Unread 01-05-2014, 10:24 AM
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I've said elsewhere how much I like this, but since it seems to have slid down the pole while people were eating Christmas dinner, I'll just bump it up for others to enjoy as well.
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Unread 01-05-2014, 12:11 PM
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Thanks, Janice.
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Unread 01-05-2014, 12:41 PM
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I am a pretty big fan of the yellow mask.
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Unread 01-05-2014, 01:01 PM
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Nice work. I like the yellow mask, too. If I'm not mistaken, Rick, in some long ago exchanges we've had about art you expressed a less than enthusiastic liking for Picasso. But don't those eyes on the mask owe a little something to him?

You've put a large number of objects in this picture, and I think the handling and placement of them is quite satisfactory. Also, I think CÚzanne would enjoy the way you've dealt with the picture plane and perspective.

Richard
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Unread 01-05-2014, 03:05 PM
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Thanks folks,

The mask was a risk that, I think, paid off here.

When I compose a still life, I rather quickly arrange items from my item closet on a desk in my studio, thinking more of the overall "landscape" design. The motif is also designed (like any landscape) as a stage with lead actor(s) and supporting cast. All of the individual items bring a lot of information in a still life, however. And I eventually "interpret" the painting while painting it, and re-interpret it when it's done, leaving anyone else so inclined to come up with his or her own interpretation. Interpretation isn't an intended in all this, I should note, but it inevitably kicks in.

The risk of the mask was one of having a humanoid face draw too much attention to itself. I don't think that happened. It is also rather "exotic". On the other hand, if you block it out of the picture (I suggest using your thumb), the center of gravity seems to be gone. I realized that the three circular (on the plane) elements of the painting are crucial, and work together--the mask, the globe, and the fan (which says "Polar Club" at the center). Thematically, they take an otherwise "European" vignette around the world. To me, the picture suggests travel and a year of seasons anchored to the arts of music and literature. There are two "prayer books", which happened to be in reach when I designed the pile, one being my grandmother's little pearl-covered book that she is holding in her first communion picture in something like 1900. The other is a Standard Revised Version of the Bible. Note the at the little one is downstage, center, and the big one has an oil lamp on it.

Interesting that the mask's eyes remind you of Picasso, Richard. You probably know that his Demoiselles d'Avignon and the paintings immediately leading up to it came from work he did copying African masks. I have ambivalent feelings about Picasso--the downside has to do with his going to the circus, which came long after the Demoiselles.

The mask in the picture was made years ago by my daughter when she was in 4th grade or thereabouts.

Luckily I got started on this when there were evergreen boughs and garland available. Overall, I would say the accidents broke in my favor on this one.

Note on sloth: The typewriter has appeared in several recent paintings because it's such a pain in the ass to lift off the desk--it weighs a ton. It is a solid, one-dimensional actor, however, and the others on stage tend to play well off of him.

Cultural note: I don't want to think about the rope.

RM

Last edited by Rick Mullin; 01-05-2014 at 07:38 PM.
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Unread 01-05-2014, 10:27 PM
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This has merit.
I'm wary of gewehr-shaped watering can, though.

That violin has a strong sense of "memento mori".

Last edited by Allen Tice; 01-05-2014 at 10:34 PM.
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  #8  
Unread 01-05-2014, 10:50 PM
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The can is scary, Allen! There is no doubt about it. You should see the actual model.

Thanks!
RM
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  #9  
Unread 01-06-2014, 10:23 AM
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I know it's a cello.

Last edited by Allen Tice; 01-06-2014 at 07:10 PM.
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  #10  
Unread 01-06-2014, 02:37 PM
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Thanks,
Rick

Last edited by Rick Mullin; 01-06-2014 at 09:55 PM.
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