Tuesday, January 01, 2013

Inspired by Matisse "Harmony in Red" 6 x 6 oil

The December challenge for Girls Just Wanna Paint was to paint with Matisse in mind. I am most familiar with his paper cutoutsSome of you may be aware of my interest in cutting paper so it crossed my mind to do a Matisse-inspired paper piece.  However, when I spent some time researching Matisse paintings and images, the paper idea slipped away.   

I learned that Matisse studied law, and became interested in art during a year of convalescence in his very early twenties.  His artistic evolution is so interesting to explore.

Look at this still life from early in his career, Fruit and Coffee Pot, a long way from the pattern-laden, abstracted nature of his work I was familiar with.  Seeing "Fruit and Coffee-Pot" pulled  Gustave Caillebotte's painting "Fruits sur un Etalage" (see below) from some dusty corner of my brain.  Caillebotte was 20 years Matisse's senior, not sure if they knew one another.  

 Back to the GJWP challenge:
My painting is loosely based on Matisse's "Harmony in Red" below.  I set up a few red objects, and included a couple of Matisse bookmarks as backdrop.  I tried to flatten the perspective, relying only on placement of objects in front and behind to define the space, to keep the shades of red very close in value, and to explore an outline of many shapes, which I applied after, with mixed success.  I substituted the dominant black and white figure from the paper cut out for the high contrast woman in "Harmony in Red". 

By the way, look at the beautiful repetition of shape in "Harmony in Red" - blue designs on the table cloth to the undulating fruit/flower piece on the table to the back wall - almost like two raised hands cradling an object.   It was certainly an interesting exercise, and the research was fascinating. Thanks for looking and Happy New Year. 

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