Friday, March 27, 2015

Post #82: Picking up Dropped Threads

Rooftop Scene
Oil on Canvas, 2015,  23 1/2" by 34 1/2" (unstretched)

Eons ago, in Post #19, I wrote about the six weeks I spent in my daughter’s spare bedroom recovering from a broken ankle. With nothing to distract me, I made “lemonade” out of the down time by drawing the view from her large window on the 11th floor overlooking West End Avenue. For the first time in my life, I was able to fully concentrate, go “into the zone” (Post #71: Flow and More Flow). I spent at least six hours a day drawing and redrawing the same buildings, getting “better” all the time. I felt like Monet or the Italian artist, Giorgio Morandi, who did endless, exquisite images of rows of bottles. 

Rooftop Scene
Charcoal on Toned Canvas, 2015   24"x36"
But then I recovered, came home and went back to my usual large, satirical paintings, “Weimar in Stamford.” The West End Avenue rooftop drawings lay untouched in a portfolio for several years. A couple of months ago, however, after completing a series of eight canvases (6’x4’) that cover the walls of an entire room, I found myself depleted. Since I needed some downtime, I decided to go back to a ‘dropped thread,’ the scenes from my daughter’s window, to turn the sketches into actual paintings.

Oil on Canvas, 2015 - 40"x36" (unstretched)
Architectural renderings are not my thing - I barely passed Drafting in college. I needed to concentrate on the expressive quality of the views, rather than how they actually looked. I found some pieces of canvas in the closet, much smaller than what I usually use, toned them with a sepia wash and proceeded to place charcoal versions of my drawings on them. The first few were pretty realistic, like the originals, but then, the paintings began to take on a life of their own. Size relationships no longer mattered; perspective came out of my head, not a formula. Color? Not much. By the time I got to the fifth and sixth paintings, the work became even more surreal; in fact, when I started them, I had no idea what I was going to do. These were dream states, not photographs.

Rooftop Scene, Oil on Canvas 2015
Anyhow, I think I’m finished with rooftops; at least for a while. I’m not even sure I like what I have done. Some of the paintings are more nightmares than dreams. Is that man planning to jump off the roof, or is he just looking down? Time to go back to over endowed ladies and lecherous men.


  1. I love your rooftop paintings and think they are as good as your over endowed women and lecherous men. It does not matter what you write I just like your style because you write like you speak and that is a gift. So just keep on writing about what ever!

  2. Your rooftop paintings are great Renee! and I love your writing as well. Carry on!

  3. As far as your text is concerned,Definitely maintain your own's wonderful.
    Personal comments,on past experiences,are what make your blogs unique.

    I recently heard a lecture about "The Hermitage Museum" in St.Petersburg.. ..It was fascinating ! Due mainly to the speaker's personal experiences. He was a cultural consultant & worked there for many years. Also, his delivery style was as if he was having a personal conversation with a few friends, rather than talking to a room full of 120 people.
    Conclusion: It's not just the grasp of the subject, but the personal & often intimate details, that make for a successful dialogue.+ good visual images help.....DGP

  4. Your love life!