Painting of the Day: Repercussion II, portrait in oil on canvas, 20×16 inches, 2019
Today’s post from the series of Painting of the Day is about portrait painting Repercussion II that I created in 2019 for my solo exhibition at Brownsville Museum of Fine Art. I hope you will enjoy reading about the concept and the meaning behind it.
What was the inspiration behind portrait painting Repercussion II?
This portrait painting was inspired by pictures I found at the alumni house at William Woods University. I stayed there for a couple of days to install the solo exhibition “Ten Starts from One.”
In the evenings, I would have a chance to look at the alumni yearbooks on the shelves, which dated back to the beginning of William Woods University. It is worth mentioning that this institution was a women’s university for a long time. All the photographs in the book described the stories of these young women who graduated from this school. The pictures were black and white, but I felt as if I were there.
What is a portrait painting?
The answer is obvious. A portrait is a painting, photo, statue, or other creative depiction of a person, in which the face and its appearance are paramount. The intention is to present the resemblance, personality, and even the spirit of the person.
There was no coincidence when I gave the title Paramount of Eternity to the solo exhibition at Brownsville Museum of Fine Art, as portrait painting is, to me, a representation of past, present, and future events that dominate thinking and consciousness and are depicted with paint on canvas or paper.
When I approach a portrait painting on canvas, I think of the subject of the portraiture as the experience itself. I look at the face I want to depict and subconsciously connect with the feeling, emotions, and reality it presents.
That is why my portrait paintings are complex in form, much like the way in which detail is defined. I use plastic, cardboard, cloth, and my fingers – all of these being tools that help sculpt portraits on canvas.
What does repercussion mean?
The definition of “repercussion” is an unintended outcome (especially an undesirable one) that happens sometime after an event or action. The word “repercussion” often refers to concepts like consequences, results, after-effects, and backlash. The term can have a negative connotation regardless of the outcome, so “repercussion” can be used even when the situation was overall favorable or positive.
The painting titled Repercussion II is the second in a series of three abstract figurative portraits that I painted in 2019. All three paintings were part of a solo exhibition at the Brownsville Museum of Fine Art. You can read about this exhibition here.
In this post, I want to focus on Repercussion II and talk about the process, meaning, and outcome of this painting. I will also mention the impact that this work had on me both while working on it and after completing the artwork.
What is the (brief) history of William Woods University?
William Woods University is a private university in Fulton, Missouri.
First recognized as the Female Orphan School, the institution was established in 1870 in Camden Point, Missouri, in acknowledgment of the demands of girls orphaned during the war.
During the late nineteenth century, the organization moved to Fulton and developed its elementary and secondary programs to support young women who aspired to become instructors. Known shortly at the beginning of the twentieth century as Daughters College, it transformed its name to William Woods College in 1900 to honor a major patron (William S. Woods, president of the National Bank of Commerce) and began offering a two-year college curriculum. In 1962, predicting dramatic shifts in the role of American women in the labor force, William Woods became a four-year college.
How important is a focal point in a portrait?
When you look at Painting of the Day: Repercussion II, you will notice that I dismiss a lot of details and that the focal point of the painting is just in the abstract forms of paint applied on the surface. I didn’t spend time painting beautiful eyes, but rather focused on making brush strokes that were powerful and rich in paint, form, and color to make the work detailed enough to keep the viewer’s attention.
If I could somehow forget about having seeing a face in the painting, it would resemble more of an abstract painting than a figurative representation of a portrait.
What is the connection between repercussions and portrait painting?
Repercussions are the aftermath of things that happened but might have had a positive impact as a result. All painting features conscious decisions made by a painter. Some outcomes might be unintentional but result in the form of repercussions in the painting. When I look at my painting, I see it in this way. It is not necessarily about the subject matter, but rather the forms and colors used on the surface.
In the painting Repercussion II, both the subject matter and the title were not accidental choices. They link directly to alumni yearbooks that I found at William Woods University. It is crazy to think that a short trip to install works for a solo exhibition could bring inspiration for an entirely new set of paintings.
When I saw photographs of the women in the yearbooks, my interest was in the history of William Woods University and the women who stood behind the institution. I wanted to know how they influenced the life of the school and the impact they brought to the world.
What materials did I use for Painting of the Day: Repercussion II?
This painting is on cotton canvas stretched on wooden bars – this canvas is primed with three layers of dry gesso, but the edges of the canvas were not primed. I used oil paints like Old Hollands, Michael Hardis, and Lukas mixed with balsamic turpentine and linseed oil.
Repercussion II, oil on canvas, 51x41cm (20×16), 2019, is in a private collection near London, UK.
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