Friday, January 29, 2016

Jolie laide

"Jolie laide" is a french term that refers to an unconventionally beautiful woman.  Like someone with a prominent nose or unusual feature that makes them uniquely striking.  (laide = ugly, jolie = pretty)
Wikipedia has a good description that goes on to say:
...it also recognizes that behind the visceral image lies an internal life.[1] As the literary critic Daphne Merkin put it, jolie laide is "a triumph of personality over physiognomy, the imposition of substance over surface."
I like the same idea applied to art and life.  Especially the idea that it takes more than a passing glance to appreciate this kind of beauty.  There's interest and depth and maybe it challenges your ideas.

I would like to work towards creating things with more interest and depth.  This wrinkled face was partly inspired by the Native Americans from The Revenent, and partly an attempt at something a little more jolie laide.
12" x 12" x 0.5" acrylic on canvas
After I took this picture, I added more color.  I thought it would look better with natural colors - not just yellow, black and blue.  But I think I like it less now.  I lost some of the expression and the gnarly wrinkles.  The first version was more ghostly.
12" x 12" x 0.5" acrylic on canvas
Eh.  Neither one is going to the Louvre, so it's all good.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

The Revenant

Can we talk about this movie for a second?  I saw it last week and I can't stop thinking about it.  It took me completely off guard because I was expecting just an action movie, not a work of art.

Leonardo DiCaprio absolutely deserves an Oscar for portraying incredible pain, anger, and sorrow with little dialog.  The movie highlighted many of his difficult moments with beautiful and brutal imagery from nature.  It created interesting connections by deliberately placing certain images and scenes together.

I keep dwelling on it and trying to piece the subtext together.   It's either great art, or I'm reading entirely too much into it.  Which is very possible.

Throughout the movie, DiCaprio's character keeps remembering something his wife said:

When there is a storm, and you stand in front of a tree, if you look at it's branches, you swear it will fall, But if you watch the trunk, you will see it's stability.


So here is my dinky little tree painting with a tidal wave storm cloud.  I slapped it together really fast whilst thinking about the movie.

12" x 12" x 0.5" acrylic on canvas

Monday, January 25, 2016

Not quite right

Painting "Stranger Danger" was so much fun, I was emboldened to try painting another face.  And this time, just make it up.  That was probably overreaching.  I've been messing with this face for a while, and I finally give up.
12" x 12" x 0.5" acrylic on canvas

It ended up slightly wonky.  The hair is weird.  Maybe she's hunched over at the  computer.  On a positive note, my cell phone did the face-recognition circle when I took the picture.

Trees and landscapes are a lot more forgiving than faces.