Monday, February 9, 2009

Foxwood - Done?

It may be finished. If I do more it won't be anything drastic. Youngest suggested that I lose more of the pencil lines, and it was good advice. I spent half an hour painting out edges, which heightened some of the colors and made the whole painting more fresh.

This went like mad, and it was on my mind all the time, like a background soundtrack or a hum behind everything else. I was playing nine ball with Alex*, and having some great conversation with him and with his wife last night and the painting got louder and louder in my head until I came home and nearly finished it, all in a blur. The other photo here (below) is of my paints laid out before I started. Simple, small palette, with the colors laid out analogously for easy blending. And everything will end up tinted with white, so several spots of white were needed.

These brushes don't have names yet - the whole thing (this last layer of acrylics, that is) was done with the smaller one, which was one of my Nana Emery's brushes. She would have used it for oils, but it was still brand new when it got passed on to me. I was happy using it, producing another painting in the family line.

This reminds me of a wilder incarnation of the same idea that drove Hounds. And I'm reminded, too, of what I like about Fauvism, particularly Andre Derain.

*Alex's Kigoheart recently adorned a t-shirt created to wear for Gaydaze at Disney. Check out Alex's Deviant Art page here.


Genie Sea said...

The foxes sped into the color and light furiously fast! Beauty! I love how the two in the foreground are about to touch noses in a tender moment. Or am I seeing things? That's okay if I am :)

How delightful to get a glimpse of your painting space! :)

Steve Emery said...

Genie - Thanks! You can see more of my art workspace here. Also the stupid sheep painting that you see started on the table, back in May 2008. The stupid sheep post also goes into some of my compositional bad habits (or hauntings).

Vicki Holdwick said...


This is really nice.

I love the movement and the soft touch up close of the two about to greet each other.

linda said...

this is very sweet...I am wondering about that center fox-like figure that is stretched along the horizontal above the foxes-he sort of looks like another fox but he's not, I don't think or he's hidden?

I too like the way they are sniffing each other, a little suspiciously... it doesn't seem to be quite finished to me, especially when I blew it's so hard to tell in photos ... but you say you are not sure it is completed. the foxes are so detailed but the rest isn't so I am not sure that is intentional ....anyway, it's lovely and I love the oranges with the blues and greens and that wonderful touch of purple here and there!

I also envy your very neat work space... you are so fastidious or you cleaned it all up for the photo, which I really doubt-the other photo is the same orderliness...even the water jars are unstained!! I will NEVER show mine after this, it's such a mess...I did enjoy seeing your sheep again however and liked your hounds as well but it's very different from your style now, isn't much more pale!

Steve Emery said...

Vicki - Thanks! The connection between the foxes just happened - they placed themselves. It's hard to explain.

Linda - Yes, that is sort of another fox in the middle... I like the unfinished feel of portions of this, and I don't know if I will push it further or not. It has a freshness that would be easy to lose. So I'm setting it aside for a few days to see how it looks this weekend, maybe.

Yep - I have a neat work space, and I tend to paint with quiet sharp attention, even when I'm being "wild" (for me). And I only paint for short spells, and clean up immediately after, so it's easy for it to stay neat. I feel like a freak, actually, since most art spaces are much messier! But I remind myself I'm also sharing space in my Oldest's room - so I'm not at liberty to make a big mess. If I don't keep it neat I won't have room to get anything done at all.

So don't feel embarrassed about your space - it's mine that's odd.

Yes, those hounds are mighty pale... I feel like my paintings emerged from the mists over the last two years, gradually gaining contrast and intensity.

And as for those sheep, well... you know.

Summer Kinard said...

It looks kind of like there's a cat on the tree a little over from the side in the top left. Is that intentional? It reminds me of Aesop's fable about the cat and the fox, but the foxes here put a new spin on things.

Odd Chick said...

Okay, may I ask a dumb question? is the back painting in watercolor? did you lift the color or did you paint white gouache or white acrylic to achieve your "white spaces"? HMMM....

Odd Chick said...

I just read your comments on Linda's blog explaining and after I left the last comment went back through this paintings progress and I think I have my answer. I know what to do now with a wonderful watercolor splash I made recently! THANKS!!!

Pagan Sphinx said...

I didn't read any of the comments because I want to just go with what the painting did for me.

I love how the female form, the tree and the foxes all seem to intermingle on the left.

At first my eye wanted to form a more distinct fox form out of the fox tail...but then I saw it as something else, a sort of fox spirit that is melding with the female human form and the tree.

And the foxes: wow. The foxy lady (for some reason I think of her as female) is making the other fox (a male?) cower; ears down.

Quite frankly, I like it very, very much.

Sorry if it sounds silly. I just went for it; which is rare for me to be able to do in writing just about anywhere.

You inspire!

Steve Emery said...

Summer - no intended cat, but woods are full of surprises.

Odd Chick - I'm glad if it helped - and I assume you read that I cover the offending bits and open the piece back up with acrylic.

Pagan - I didn't plan these fox poses at all, and yet they are interacting or acting out some kind of foxy ritual. I do think the one on the left is being cautious or tentative in its reach for the other. And I also think of the third, incomplete fox as some kind of spirit of foxiness.

It was a great pleasure to paint these creatures, and to get to know them better through the drawing and painting. They're tantalizingly suspended between dog and cat. Complex, sexy, maybe a bit androgynous?

Alex said...

hey! look at that, I'm famous.

I really like the continuity of using a previous generation's tools. I have many tools in my (as yet incomplete) shop that are older than I am and I feel a sense of history and connection with the past when I use them.

Steve Emery said...

Alex - yes, that's a strong part of it, that continuity. I have saws and hammers and a miter box from grandfathers, my father-in-law, uncles... all favorites of mine. Partly because they were made well enough to stand the test of time, but largely because of the history and the connection. My hand working in the same place theirs did...