Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Paul Krugman and the Story of St. Joan

Surely we are all familiar with the story behind this painting?



It's titled "St. Joan Receives the Spirit of the Lord (Prior to the Battle of Orleans)."

If you've forgotten, which I find hard to believe, I started painting St. Joan, perhaps ten years ago, with the full intention of making it my usual splash-of-color sort of a thing. Then I got to the point where you see it now and I just stopped. It measures seven by five, more or less, and it is, if I do say so myself, a show-stopper. I truly love it--it hangs in my studio as I type.

This one measures five feet by four:



And it too is done, except for the scrawling of the title and the signing of the initials and date. I just sketched the thing in pencil, then resketched it in charcoal (aren't these little glimpses into the world of what I do interesting?) and then sat down on my sofa, poured myself some tea, and started to stare at it.

The reason for the staring, in case you don't fully understand the process, is to assess the good and the bad; reflect on one's own insufficiencies as a painter; plot what is next. And the more I looked at it, the more I liked it just the way it was.

So I walked across Monument Square to Pigment, bought some spray varnish, came back and fixed (in the sense of using a fixative rather than repairing) it. I call it "Krugman (Black and White)".

I love the eyes.

Before we go, it's worth reflecting on this:



And this, which I'm about to stretch and hang in my bedroom:



And, I suppose, this:



I love when the fingers get in the picture.

For you completists, I'm listening to "The Sun is Shining" from Fleetwood Mac's "The Pious Bird of Good Omen" album. This is, of course, early Fleetwood Mac, before that witchy girl arrived, when they were just a straight-up blues band.

And I'm feeling pretty good.

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