I'm thrilled to announce that my painting "Israfel" has received Second Place for still life in the ARC Salon!
|"Israfel," oil on dibond panel, 50x26", 2013|
And then, when the painting was done, I was kind of burnt out on it. It immediately sold to a collector who had been expressing interest in my trompe l'oeil work (YESSS!!), and since it was a direct sale I did one of my super fun write ups and certificates of authenticity! I often make these for paintings before I send them to galleries, but I have the sinking feeling that my galleries don't always show them to clients. I like to print these out on nice paper, something a bit thicker than normal, and place it in an envelope or a pouch adhered to the backing on the frame.
(A big thank you to Kate Sammons for sending me a copy of her own certificate template.)
The write up reads:
The inspiration for Israfel came from a poem of the same name by Edgar Allan Poe. A single verse of this poem can be found inscribed on the door to the right of the violin – as if lightly penciled by some long ago graffitist.
If I could dwell
Hath dwelt, and he where I,
He might not sing so wildly well
A mortal melody,
While a bolder note than this might swell
From my lyre within the sky.
The angel Israfel plays a divine music that is the song of his own heartstrings. Unlike other artists, he relies on no instrument or medium for expression – that which he has to express pours directly forth from its source. The poet laments that, being an earthly mortal, he is limited in his own creative expression: his music will always be corrupted by the imperfect instruments of man. As divine and as true as the inspiration in his heart is, he will never be able to deliver it in its pure and perfect form to the world. Its earthly manifestation will always be a pale echo of the original inspiration.
The canary represents the angel Israfel with his innate ability to create music. The violin is our imperfect instrument on earth. The door forecasts the poet’s eventual passage into the next realm, the one in which he may finally be unlimited in his creative expression like the angel Israfel.
The narrative is close to my heart. I am perpetually frustrated by how warped and inferior my paintings come out compared to the perfect picture I had in my head at the moment of inspiration. It's painful and ego-destroying, but it's more than that too. It sends me into a downward spiral of WHYBOTHER. My painting "Israfel" itself is quite a bit short of what I had in my head.
I find a lot of similarity between the Israfel poem and the myth of Icarus, the youth who flew too close to the sun so that his wings melted and he plunged to his death. Both are about little men striving for things greater than they have a right to. As you've noticed from the title of my bird alla prima series, the Icarus theme is a pet of mine.
And another thing, has anyone thought about the fact that the ONLY art form that doesn't require an instrument or tool of any sort is song?
If I had done a work in progress post, I would have drawn your attention to a few things:
- The paint chips were applied with a palette knife after the wood grain of the door was finished. I used impasto medium to beef up my paint.
- There is a Super. Simple. way to check your lines to make sure they are straight (for instance, those violin strings), and it doesn't involve a ruler or a plumb line: simply line up your eye against the edge of your painting so that you can see the line foreshortened lengthwise. Any little bobbles will become immediately obvious.
- The violin was HARD. It's not presenting itself head on, so it's not perfectly symmetrical. And yet, it has to seem symmetrical. Furthermore, there was a ton of lost and found.
- I don't think it would be an exaggeration to say that a full 50% of my time was spent dithering over drawing issues. Drawing gets exponentially harder the larger the painting.
- Everything in this painting was done sight size from a set up, but the canary was painted from a photo. No shame.
- I acquired said canary as a pet expressly to model for this painting. I still have him. He is fabulous.