Three Heads from 1971

Three heads from 1971

This work is anything but recent. And, for that I apologize. It is a big oil, 30 by 50 inches. That’s big for me anyway. It was done before I knew any better, some 40 years ago. The foundation is a non-tempered, one-fourth inch Masonite sheet, with the smooth side abraded with rough steel wool (for better tooth.) This board is glued to a wooden cradle made with 1×2 pine stock. The business side was first given a couple of coats of Liquitex Gesso and then various areas were built up with heavy gesso medium to make a three-dimensional surface. I got this idea from an artist who lived at Westbeth a kind of art colony which includes apartments, studios and exhibition space in the West Village. I don’t recall his name but his pictures were truly three dimensional. Anyway, once everything had dried, I added more regular Liquitex Gesso to give a moon-like, smooth matte finish. Then, I started in with the oils. A lot of Alizarin Crimson and probably some Naples Yellow both mixed with some Venice Turpentine and a touch of cobalt drier. So far, the thing has been rock solid. Later, I did some additional, more abstract works using the same technique. Shortly after completing them, the need to pay attention to the day job took precedent and I focused on smaller pen and inks and pastels. The thing about oils is that they are a full-time job that require more time and attention than a day job, except that unfortunately they don’t always pay as well. And, certainly not as steadily, a key issue when a young family is involved. Despite all that, the idea of three shapes, figures, faces or whatever keeps coming back up in my fine art work. Sometimes there are five figures, but usually three. Did one just the other day.

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