Tuesday, June 2, 2009

The Saga Continues...

Mother Reading
oil on panel
20" x 16"

And so the painting continues. As I've said before, there is still much to do on this one. It seems the more I do, the more I see to do. This painting was not supposed to take this long. I started this on a whim to keep both my mom and I occupied while the little folks were at preschool. However, this painting has developed into more of a family portrait, than just a single portrait of my mother. In the background there are things that reference both of my children, my husband, and of course myself. When I started this painting, I noticed for the first time, a beautiful nest just outside our window. It ended up having two eggs in it, which while my mom was posing both hatched. We so enjoyed watching these ugly little beings turn into full fledged mocking birds. Their mother worked tirelessly to feed them and protect them from a curious squirrel. In fact, she did too good of a job with one, who got too fat to leave the nest. When he (I say he, because I think of him as similar to my brother) finally flew from the nest, he didn't make it far. He hid in the bushes on the opposite side of the house and she continued to be his full service meal cart. I know I am anthropomorphising big time here, but I can't help to see ironic similarities.

As you can see, there are several books (I am addicted to them) on the shelves. When we moved into this house, I organized this wall of shelves to be both pleasing to the eye, as well as orderly. Therefore, the top shelf is filled with my husbands graphic novels and such, the next shelf down has Art History books and a stack of women artist books (one which is titled 'Seeing Our Selves, another irony?), and then toys, lots of toys. Also, you see I've included two paintings. The robot painting on the top shelf is one of three paintings my husband and I bought for our 10th Anniversary a few years ago. The other painting is of our daughter when she was 5 weeks old. It was painted quickly from life, on a wooden box for my husband's first father's day. I've included images of both of these paintings for you to see. I don't think I'll add too much more detail from these to my current painting since I think it will detract from what's supposed to be the main subject; my mother reading.

I know I must seem like such a sentimental fool. So be it. I don't want to paint hardship or psychologically (negatively) charged portraits (anymore). There was a time when I looked for the uncomfortable in my sitters, but now there is something that has changed within me where I don't feel that urge any longer. I have no need to show the world anymore ugliness. There is all ready enough of that, now isn't there?

Mike Tracy Monster #32, 2007 acrylic on canvas 8" x 8"

Sienna at Five Weeks
oil on wooden box
5 3/8" x 6 3/4"


  1. Alia, I am enjoying watching your painting progress. It doesn't feel like a 'sentimental' painting at all to me (for what it's worth). I say follow your instincts.. they appear to be taking you in the right direction so far!

  2. How interesting! I'm thinking about master paintings in museums, and how we analyze and consider the objects placed in the painting as purposeful by the artist. I've always found it interesting how chance happenings are rarely considered, or just the reality of that moment. I know luck, intuition, or serendipitous moments often take me by surprise in my own process. How cool to see it at work here!

    I love what you wrote about showing the world ugliness too. Thank you Alia, great painting and I've enjoyed following the progress of this portrait.

  3. Sean, your comments are worth a lot to me. Thanks for saying that. Yeah, sometimes I realize thinking can be a mis-guided practice.

    And Karen, that's so interesting. I guess people like to think artists have all their intentions figured out ahead of time, but for me, I often am lead by the painting, not the other way around. Thanks for your kind words about this portrait. I wish I had copious amounts of time, so I could be working on more than just this at the moment...

  4. How did you get Sienna to pose long enough to paint her?
    I want to paint my kids, but they'll never sit long enough.
    I have this great picture of Amelia a few minutes after she was born that I think would make for a great painting. Heavy on the chiaroscuro.

  5. Sienna was such a calm, sweet baby. She was content to just stare at me... so I stared right back, while painting. I just started another of her today from life. I'll probably post something soon. She's still just as calm (except when her annoying little brother trys to take a toy...) You should paint Amelia. She's a beauty.