Sunday, December 28, 2008

Glee 1 - Finished?

I may have finished Glee 1. Click on the image for a closer view. At the very least this is as far as I imagined the first draft. I can perhaps tinker some more, but I risk damaging as much as I improve, at this point. There comes a time with water colors, especially with hot press paper, when you have to leave well enough alone, and just accept what you've done, or you lose the freshness, and you might damage the surface so some area looks quite out of place with the rest. I'm not totally happy with the girl on the left, for instance, but attempts to do more have already put me in danger of losing the whole thing. So I may have to be content with her as she is.

Acrylics allow nearly endless reworking, though, and I will be getting into them more. That might be good - or it might not. I expect some changes to my approach to painting, and a new understanding of "finished."

So now that you can see what I was aiming for with Glee 1, does this painting work for you? Do you get it? This image has been in my head for three or four months - I'm glad to have it outside finally.

15 comments:

DCup said...

I've been waiting for this one to be finished. I love it. It is what I expected. I think the emotion shown is so exuberant, so full of life.

linda said...

at the risk of hurting your feelings(although you did ask), I don't understand this painting...it leaves me feeling disconcerted, uncomfortable, which perhaps is what you wanted, I am not sure.... it feels cold and harsh somehow yet, technically it's beautifully done....strange mix of feelings about this one. when I look at the people and their expressions, they seem confused a little too...maybe I am reading too much into it? is that smoke coming out their heads or buildings, lol?

can you explain the point of them wearing buildings on their heads, why it's called glee and what is the one man laughing at? the "glee"? I think that's the point I am not getting, why is he laughing so hard and nobody else seems completely comfortable with it...it's having a very strange impact on me!

so you did generate an emotional reaction to this but it might not be what you want...I love the little fishes over to the side, where they should NOT be! this is all just plain weird, grins!!

Summer Kinard said...

To me this painting makes visual the dream principle that we dream our souls as houses. The happiest character has on all the lights in his house, while the least refined has on the fewest. I am also reminded of the old personality types: melancholy, choleric, sanguine & the other one. They were based on humors but I always forget the fourth one. I wonder if Mr. Glee in front there us exulting because he's Sanguine or because the four parts of the personality (represented by the four figures) are in just the right balance for greatest happiness.

Pagan Sphinx said...

The more I look at Glee, the more I like it. Not so much because I understand it better but I think because its mystery is growing on me.

I'll be honest; I don't understand what the man with the red beard is so elated about but it looks to me like it could be a good joke or like something has dawned on him. The two people to me look as if they're infected by his laughter but only to the extent that they understand it. So I'm sort of "with" them. I don't get it but it's infectious.

And the person who has his back to the viewer, I'm not at all sure about.

I love the way you painted the house on Red Beard Man's head. Nice real estate! And the little orange flag, the birds and the tiny fish, which I've come to look forward to seeing when I look at one of your paintings.

Mathman6293 said...

It looks like a great place to live.

Steve Emery said...

Thanks, everyone, for such great responses.

DCup - Thanks so much. It came out the way I wanted, too. It's fun when that happens - though the unexpected is fun, too. And I'm pleased AND surprised at the emotion I managed to convey in the main character, in particular.

Linda - I'm not surprised this is puzzling, disturbing, even. I believe glee (the way I feel it) does puzzle people. It's like being a little drunk or a little crazy, in a harmless but bubbly way, overflowing with laughter. It comes on me for all sorts of silly, but lovely reasons. My family enjoys it. Glee 2 contains elements of the way it pulls me along (the birds pulling on the monk's beard and robe). I've actually done this in public (laughed out load for simple joy, not worn a house on my head). My wife (in our senior year of high school) actually heard my laugh before she'd ever seen me - and it was this kind of head back, totally letting go that first caught her interest.

The houses are just symbolic of the mental state, or state of humor, of the characters.

It IS a weird painting - it was strange to share it, in a way. Fun, too.

Summer! You nailed this. I wasn't consciously thinking of the four humors, but the bit about ALL of Virgil's lights being on (and it probably IS Virgil again...) is exactly the point. His humor, his glee, is at full tilt. The other humor (of the four medieval humors), is phlegmatic, I think. The four humors are depicted as animals in a famous Durer woodcut that I loved as a teenager. He also did a special woodcut of Melancholia - his own particular humor, I suspect. Common for artists, I've noticed.

Pagan - Yes, those other two characters are just enough into Virgil's glee to be grinning, but they don't know what it's all about. The laughter is just infectious. And Virgil is oblivious to everyone around him, though he might be enjoying the laughter more because it's right out loud and in public. I know if I get laughing in public, and I really let loose, the fact that I'm feeling that free, in front of everyone, magnifies the enjoyment. The guy looking the other way is just not affected. He either hasn't tuned in to the laughter yet, or he doesn't care. Nothing more than that. I visualize the couple to the left as being together, but the others are all strangers to each other.

The house on Virgil's head is based on a palace on the coast of California somewhere, modeled on the palaces of Florence, I believe. The white clapboard is like the one I grew up in (only we didn't have lunette windows in the peaks). The brownstone felt like an obvious choice for some strong male character. And the Victorian brick is a pastiche of several grand old places I found photos of on the web.

And the fish are an indulgence, a dulce, a lark. My children look for them, too. They've been showing up since the illustrations I did for a children's book that has yet to be published.

MathMan - I've thought about places with great architecture while I've painted this. Alex suggested SF, but I've also thought of Chicago, which gets an architectural love letter written about it in the movieLake House (a chick flick - I loved it, actually, and went out and bought it).

MLight said...

I don't know why everyone is so puzzled. The laughing guy is so familiar to me - just with a different haircolor and beard and face and mouth and....

Still, familiar.

Steve Emery said...

MLight - Dearest - LOL - I'm so glad you feel that way! That means I managed to capture some essential part of me in that painting, and that was a big wish when I started it. xx oo

Mary Stebbins Taitt said...

WOW! Your work is stunning--I am glad I found you, or you found me--thanks for giving me a reason to come here and see your fabulous, imaginative, wonderfully rendered work!

Steve Emery said...

Mary - Thanks! And Welcome! I try to look at several new CED links every week. That's how I found you.

Odd Chick said...

UMM... I think we live in our minds and that some people have many "stories" of interest.., and yet we are all neighbors in this process as we carry around our the nests we have built in our heads - this is fascinating..and it makes me want to discuss it with a friend... great, great art

tammy vitale said...

To me it looks like people on the street enjoying someone who is obviously enjoying himself. Love the house on the head thing. Love most art with something on the head but haven't managed to do much of it myself (have made a few futile attempts in clay). But I really love that the fish are there. =] Wish you good luck with the virus.

Steve Emery said...

Odd Chick - So good to see you here; I need to check out what you've been up to. Thanks for the compliments, and that idea about the nests we build up in our heads is great, quite in line with my painting. I went with houses because we live in them, they have windows to light up (or shutter and blind), and because we design them and build them to suit ourselves.

Tammy Vitale - Thanks! I think of you (among others) when I paint those fish... Good luck eventually getting what you want with "something on the head" art - I can picture you doing that with clay, absolutely.

The Cunning Runt said...

This is just... brilliant. Your ideas are awfully deep for a guy who just cranks them out like this, and the details are borne of a brain full of stuff, an impressive arsenal of ideas.

I really love this peace, in part because I can't look at it without smiling like a fool, and I really need that right now.

Thanks, man!

messyfish said...

briliant!