Monday, March 17, 2014

The Abstract Beneath

The Blonde at the Window is an 18x14 oil done from life by Shirley Fachilla.

A month or so ago I went to a wonderful art lecture given by Maggie Siner. She’s a very accomplished artist, one who has thought deeply about her art. She'd come to Nashville to give one of her rare workshops.
I didn’t manage to get into the workshop, but I did make it to the lecture. I’m so glad I did. 
It was not set up as the typical artist demo. Instead she showed the audience a series of paintings by some of the greats of the past. Her primary point: that within every successful representational painting is an abstract and the power of the painting derives from that abstract play of dark and light.
For truly great paintings, the power and the meaning of the representational subject is also reinforced and magnified by the abstract design that lies beneath.
She used work by Degas more than once to prove her point. Degas is one of my favorite painters; I think his compositions (his abstract designs) are some of the most innovative, interesting and edgy of any artist alive or dead.

When I painted my The Blonde at the Window, I was thinking of the lecture and of Degas. I was thinking of the abstract beneath.       


  1. Sounds like a wonderful lecture, Shirley. The blonde at the window is beautifully painted...I love those amazing shadows and the perfect light hitting her from the window...excellent...

  2. Fascinating point, Shirley. So glad you mentioned this. I've looked at abstracts to find something "real" in the lights, darks, contrasts and shapes. I don't think I've knowingly looked at "realistic" paintings to see the abstract. But, you're right! It's there! I certainly can see it in your painting above.

  3. Shirley! As always, "Bravo!" I am "out here" checking out your wonderful blog and fantastic art! I need to make more time to comment! You last three paintings are, as usual, fantastic! A visual treat for me every time I visit!
    Take care!


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