This painting will be at Peterson-Cody Gallery (Santa Fe, NM) in February as part of their Figurative Group Show.
“If Music Be the Food of Love, Play On”
oil on canvas over panel, 32x39
Excerpt from the magazine:
The idea for “If Music Be the Food of Love, Play On” came to me while on a walk beside a stream near my house. I have watched this clearing as it changes color and light with the seasons and time of day. No matter the situation it always looks inviting. I began to imagine a band of happy travelers stopping there to rest and enjoy a moment living in the moment. I wanted to do a painting that hearkened to a simpler time, a time of wine and roses, a halcyon days break from the daily storms of modern life. The title is the first line of Shakespeare’s “Twelfth Night”.
MY DESIGN STRATEGY:
I did a few thumbnail sketches and collected props and costumes including an antique accordion that belonged to my husband’s grandfather. I imagined the clearing as the environment and background for the painting. My son, his fiancee and my daughter were home for spring break so I had my models, the weather was perfect and the red buds were in bloom. I took many digital photographs of the models dancing, playing instruments and in various poses and groupings. I just happened to catch on film my daughter-in-law teasing my son by stealing his hat, and knew that the mischievous look on her face would be in the final painting. I spent a week editing the photos and creating different compositions. I added my daughter in the foreground from another shot, as well as the empty stool which we’d taken out to the clearing.
MY WORKING PROCESS:
I printed photo enlargements to use as reference and brought my daughter in for clarification of certain areas like the hands. I work on canvas stretched over a hollow core door and gessoed 3 times. I drew a light pencil sketch followed by permanent sepia pen. I then washed burnt umber over the landscape area of the painting and a cool purple blue over the sky area as an under painting. I began by painting the background first and then the figures, taking care with value, color, soft edges and correct anatomy. I paint over the entire piece two or three times making corrections and adjustments each time. Finally I glaze certain areas of the painting to emphasize brush strokes and push certain areas back. The painting took about 6 weeks working daily. After the painting dried for 3-4 months I varnished it using Winsor Newton Conserv-Art gloss varnish.