Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Tuesday Voice: Recent paintings by Shirley Deane/Midyett

Detail of painting at bottom
In the spirit

By Vic Midyett

The two of my wife's nature paintings are from photographs I took in the last couple of weeks of May. And the two paintings of a cat were commissioned by a lady who wanted one for herself and one for her son. Shirley is glad for me to share them, but painting is an incredibly private affair for Shirley.
    For Shirley, a painting becomes a manifestation of something that moved or excited her "here and now" and created a need that compelled her to paint. She has such thoughts most often on her daily long walks with the creator spirit she experiences in nature.
Sunset from our van park (4" x 4 ")

Even when Shirley is doing a commissioned work, the activity of painting is essentially just meeting a personal desire of her own. She doesn't think of a commissioned painting as something to sell. She's doing it for herself.
    When someone likes and buys a painting, it's because the painting meets a personal feeling or mood or need. It may be just practical because they have a space on the wall that needs to be filled. Or they buy it because it simply fits, reinforces, or adds to the colors and decor and "feel" of where they want to display it.
    For example, when you go into an office, do you consciously notice the paintings and pictures on the wall, or the lack of them? If you do notice them, what do they stimulate you to feel? Do they help you feel relaxed? Do they make you feel confused? Can they even give the impression that someone just plonked them there because society says "you need to have wall decorations." I think that many businesses pay little attention to this psychological aspect of first impressions and communication of feelings.
    And even though a commissioned painting is deeply personal for Shirley, she nevertheless of course learns what the commissioner wants before she starts to work. She seeks to understand the commissioner's character by asking questions and listening.
    She asks practical questions, too, like what's the dominant color of the space it will be displayed in? What colors do they want to bring out from that space? Do they prefer abstract renderings over objective landscapes, animals over flowers, etc.?
    And she makes sure that the commissioner agrees that the final product is exactly what was wanted, or more. If not, she asks that the commissioner be honest and suggest possible changes. (A good thing about a painting is that it can be painted over and changed. Or a new painting done.) Shirley wants with all her being for the person to be happy with the result. It would devastate her to find out that someone accepted and paid for a piece that they were not truly happy with. To Shirley, that would totally defeat the love and communication and interpersonal nature of the transaction.
    If the result of a commissioned work is complete to Shirley's satisfaction, and she really likes it, but the commissioner is not quite happy, instead of repainting over the original, Shirley might start all over again on a new canvas and keep the first one for herself. Shirley won't get to keep either of the cat paintings.

Both paintings are 5" x 7"
   On a personal note, it is said that if the subject of a painting has eyes, and the eyes are not reproduced well, the result does not work. I believe Shirley is a perfectionist at eyes.
    By the way, the cat didn't pose for its paintings. The lady provided a couple of photographs.

On a technical level, viewers won't fail to notice that these and other paintings of Shirley's "show the canvas" through the paint. I think there are two reasons for that. The first is simply that my digital camera picks up details a little too well. Second, painting a complex scene on a very small canvas is extremely hard because of the rough surface, and laying more paint on the canvas in order to paint, for example, a bird tends to make the paint blob up and the image to look less realistic.
At the Indian ocean near the church we go to (5" x 7")

Copyright © 2015 by Vic Midyett & Shirley Deane/Midyett