Friday, April 20, 2012

Jesus in the House of Mary and Martha, Detailing Mary's Robe

            I spent a couple of hours yesterday resolving Mary’s costume. In the sleeve, this meant simply tightening up the lines in agreement with a reference photo. But the fabric over her knee is fabricated from imagination. The difficulty of making it up is ensuring that the folds communicate the form beneath, and I wasn’t convinced the protrusion was convincing as a knee. Even partially hidden behind the vessel on the table, I want her legs to be perceptible beneath her drapery, folded beneath her body in a natural and comfortable pose.
            I also paid some attention to her legs, which will get more firelight in a subsequent layer.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Mary and Martha: Adding More Disciples

It would be much more orthodox to plan an entire composition before beginning a complicated narrative painting.

But I planned poorly, and now I’m improvising. I'm satisfied that my latest improvisation for this painting is, at last, getting the image to coalesce. By adding this figure between the viewer and the fireplace, I think I’ve created a bridge between the central figures and the distally placed ones at left. My wife saw it and said, “Oh, now Mary’s really slacking.” It’s a busier room, and Martha’s frustration that her sister has left her “to serve alone” is exacerbated.

I’m now envisioning another guest between the tables, leaning to our right in reach of some victual, creating yet another directional line to the interaction between Mary and Jesus.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Mary and Martha: more food on the tables

Having satisfied myself for the moment that the faces are shaping up well (though they need another layer yet), I turned my attention today to the table in the foreground. A bowl of grapes, a plate of fish, some dishes of spices, some beverages— I can create these from what I have in the studio.

But before I go to too much detail, I really need to bring some people in to model for the figures in the foreground, which will undoubtedly cover up some of my work.