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Unread 02-17-2015, 02:02 PM
ross hamilton hill ross hamilton hill is offline
Join Date: May 2013
Location: Sydney, Australia
Posts: 2,238

Ann, Rick is painting what he sees, the skull has lost quite a bit, but I don't see how that is relevant, it is what it is and the magic is in how it is rendered, the elan of the brushwork. For me it comes together very well, and would be even better in reality. It is often said paintings are two dimensional but they become three dimensional through texture, if you have ever seen a Van Gogh or Soutine painting in the flesh, this becomes very apparent.
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Unread 02-18-2015, 01:38 AM
Ann Drysdale's Avatar
Ann Drysdale Ann Drysdale is online now
Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: Old South Wales (UK)
Posts: 4,760

But I can only comment on what I see. I didn't say it was "wrong"; in fact I think somewhere in all that waffling I said exactly the opposite, giving Rick the ownership of what he sees. He, after all, has to carry the (coffee) can. (That's a reference to another picture of Rick's whereon he explained what I thought I had understood.)

I know from experience that Rick will not take offence. He has on other occasions taken my comments in the spirit in which I made them. I carry some of his pictures in my head; the dark café on the sunny street and the one with Pinocchio that says to me "I, too, sing America".

This one eventually sucked me in through its eyesocket, but I tried to express what my head did with it on the way.

If I recall correctly, that safe café wherein I sat for a while was re-created at a later date from a pencil sketch. This skull looks as though it has been quickly sketched directly with a fat brush and thick paint. It is a different thing and, you are right, Ross, I am not at home with it.

I do not have the critical language for art (nor for poetry either, many would say) and for me to comment on brushwork in any terms other than those I understand - fat, thick, crusty etc. - would be pretentious. If I did not say what I should have said, I have let myself down by not "seeing" what I should have seen. I am out of my element and my depth.

Can you smell yak?
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Unread 02-18-2015, 11:02 AM
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Rick Mullin Rick Mullin is offline
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Northern New Jersey
Posts: 7,836

To me, it looks like a piggy bank.

Ann, thanks for the in-depth response. I have an aversion to the language of critique, by the way. You don't need it at all.

For example, I think the effect Ross is advising is simply called stepping back from the canvas. It is hard to do when painting, and sometime hard when looking at a painting.

Ross, thanks for the analysis.

This was, indeed, painted from my plaster skull lugged back from New Orleans 20-some years ago. The lower jaw is broken.

Thanks all!
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Unread 02-18-2015, 02:05 PM
ross hamilton hill ross hamilton hill is offline
Join Date: May 2013
Location: Sydney, Australia
Posts: 2,238

Rick, a painter friend used to reverse a small pair of binoculars so he could see a painting from a distance when he was working in a small studio. I noticed via f'book your studio looks small so maybe it's a trick worth keeping up your sleeve. I think it helps see the composition although I have never used it.
The painting is actually quite powerful in a macabre way for me, the missing teeth makes this seem a real skull, perhaps from an archaelogical dig, with parts missing, eaten by scavengers etc. I really did think of the Phantom comic book character as I had a skull ring when a kid. It's not for me a piggy bank at all, it's a potent reminder of our mortality. It really jumps out at you. I find it quite confronting.

Last edited by ross hamilton hill; 02-18-2015 at 02:11 PM.
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