Monday, January 3, 2011
Playing Hard to Get
Dreaming of Italy 20x24 open studio oil
There's a painting by Degas that has at its center a sumptuous bouquet of flowers. The lavish arrangement fills the space. But the flowers for all their exuberance, play second fiddle to the woman at their side. Pushed to the right, cropped and much smaller than the posies, the woman still controls the canvas.
How does she do it? First, by having a strong and interesting face. But second and more importantly, she does it with her gaze. She isn't looking at the viewer or the flowers but stares at something beyond the frame. You simply have to look along with her and in the process, look intently at her. It's as though she's playing hard to get by ignoring us and the flowers, and as any Cosmo article would tell you, thus garnering all the attention.
My painting borrows a little of the Degas composition though the bouquet is much, much smaller! The diptych shown in the background of my painting, as my title implies, reminds me of an Italian landscape.
For more talk of Degas, see my post here.