Monday, November 19, 2012

What Makes a Painting Intimate?

It isn’t that a painting is physically small or that it shows someone, or something, that is delicate and tiny. It’s not that its subject is a domestic scene, like a woman in her bath or putting up her hair.
Of course, all those ingredients can give a painting a feeling of intimacy. But none of them are essential to create an intimate painting.
I think what is necessary is a sense that the viewer is looking into a private world. Renoir’s little knitter, Georges de la Tours’ Mary Magdalene and Andrew Wyeth’s Christina offer the viewer glimpses into private spaces and private thoughts… sometimes thoughts not intended to be shared.      
Looking over Her Shoulder is a 20x10 oil done in open studio by Shirley Fachilla. 


  1. Beautiful painting Shirley, you captured a peaceful mood.

  2. I agree, Shirley. Intimate paintings always make me want to ask When? What? Who? Why? Where?and How? This painting makes me wonder...What is she reading? How did she get the minutes to sit and read? Is she a young mother who just put her toddler to bed? Is she a teenager waiting for her friend to come over? and so forth. Love the warm/cool colors and the way the lower portion fades away.

  3. Love your use of soft subtle grays Shirley. Sent you a friend request on FB. Let's keep in touch!

  4. Very nice, Shirley and yes, very intimate.

    I love that little triangle of light on her face.

  5. Orange and blue - my fav combination. The hand fascinated me. Just a suggestion of dark and it is complete. I love it.

  6. NIce job on this one Shirley!
    I agree with you about what makes a painting intimate and quite private.
    I also know that your skills as an artist certainly made this piece successful. Great work Shirley!

  7. I think you are right, and this is indeed an intimate situation, love how you caught this cosy tranquil atmosphere, the colors are wonderful , too !

  8. Nice write up about the relationship of painting and intimacy. Really informative.


Is it too early to send an invitation?

Pieces by (clockwise from left to right) : Susan Harlan, Janet Garner, Shirley Fachilla, Mike Martino and Topper Williams. So many ...