The Blue Smock

Oil on prepared 140lb Strathmore cold press paper, 18 x 24

About a week after I began working on this painting (which, by the way, is based on a preliminary sketch completed a year or so ago), I came across a similar painting by Mark Rothko in the Brooklyn Museum.  It was one of his “Subway Series.” He did Brooklyn’s painting in 1939, before I was around and before he started his abstract expressionist color field work. It’s pure coincidence of course but he seems to have been dealing with some similar issues: the human form abstracted and color.  I don’t know what was in Mr. Rothko’s head seventy years ago as far as color goes, but my work is a study of yellow and its complementary, purple.  After getting started in art at the Art Students League (where I also studied), Rothko studied with Arshile Gorky and then later, back at Art Students League with Max Weber.  So, he certainly got a good grounding in color. Anyway, my preliminary sketch was drawn from a model who spontaneously struck what I thought was an assertive pose, taking no crap from anyone, least of all me. The smock, by the way is not blue but blue-purple (Ultramarine with Permanent Rose).

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