(Joyce) #1

36 Artists Magazine June 2020

At a certain point, the painting
started to settle in. The smaller forms
had been developed. Still, the painting
didn’t resonate for me the way I’d
hoped it would. I didn’t want the
viewer’s focus to land so quickly on
the bride. I wanted to slow down the
reading of the painting, complicate
the image a bit more, and draw atten-
tion evenly across the whole surface.
So, I returned to the small scale,
making another gouache study. I cop-
ied abstractly from the large painting
that I’d made so far, and then played
with a variety of changes. I realized
that if I didn’t want the bride to be
such a strong focal point, I needed to
lighten the background behind her, so
there’d be less contrast to draw the
viewer’s attention. This would also
make the whole scene more light-
filled. Maybe that blue sky could be
covered by the pink wall of another
building (see the study, bottom left)?
I brought these and other changes to
the large painting.

I’ve been experimenting lately with
the use of abstract solutions to the
representational problems that arise
in the painting process. One such
solution is to break up the forms with
unexpected shifts of value and color.
I was using these breaks to integrate
the figures into their environment, to
camouflage them and to create more
visual paths through the painting.
As I pushed the contrast and break-
down of forms even further—beyond
a point where I felt comfortable—the
space became more compressed, and
it took longer to decipher what was
happening in the image. I liked how
the information was now parsed out
more slowly. Sometimes the abstract
shapes were enough to hold the space;

Study for Wedding, 1
gouache on paper; 8x12

Study for Wedding, 3
gouache on paper; 8x12

Study for Wedding, 4
gouache on panel; 12x20
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