I went to New York on an art gallery and museum fieldtrip recently, and I saw Alice Neel paintings in person for the first time. Flipping through one of her art books, I saw Bathing in a Furnished Room (1927). I really liked the composition of the painting, and the sense of dim light. Coming back to my studio, and from memory, I painted over an unsuccessful start to another painting with this Alice Neel painting in mind. The finished effect is a lot darker and more muted than my usual style, but I like how it is different.
Taking a second look at Bathing in a Furnished Room, I like it more than my own painting for the better sense of perspective and light, and even just the overall recognizable quality of it. My painting is more abstract. Who knows if the viewer can tell that the big black square in the foreground is a curtain? To me, the curtain is intriguing in the same way that archways are; they play with both framing and concealing the space behind it. If my paintings are about the interiors of the mind, I think that a bit of abstraction and maybe surrealist quality is more than fair.