Interior Rooms

oil painting
Interior Rooms, oil on canvas 24 in. x 24 in., September 2018

I took a picture of the first floor of our family friends’ home because I liked how there were uninterrupted views from one room to the next. I enjoy dimension and sense of space as a visual subject. In some of Degas’ paintings of ballet studios, there are long views through archways into rooms beyond which I really admire. I would like to make paintings with complex foreground, middle ground, and backgrounds. And I also have the impulse towards a more graphic style with bright colors and freer brush strokes.

There is a looser, more organic style that I am reaching for, but have not yet achieved. I am battling between the desire for order and a graphic quality with need for free-flowing shapes and slightly more chaos. How could I possibly merge the two? And what would that look like? I once had the random phrase “rooms like the insides of flowers” pop into my head. I want contrast, brightness, and softness. My “Glassware Still-Life” almost achieves these ideas. I just want a bit more frenzied, playful color, yet still in a controlled way that highlights contrast and order.

This painting sort of has a rustic feel because, underneath, I painted some areas with brown brush strokes to make the colors over them feel more dusty and subdued, and more expressive. I focused on showing the difference between brighter rooms and more mysterious rooms. The closest room (the front right) is made up of warm walls, and a pale, cool floor that reflects the rooms further back in the painting. I was playing with the idea of mental states of calm and nonchalance contrasted with hot, more expressive emotions. Each room is different, but they are all linked and flow into one another.

Solely interior spaces are not exciting me as much right now. I want to add some more life, something that breathes, back into my paintings by reintroducing the figure. I will explore how the figure changes the sense of space. If you look closely, there is a shadowy figure in the background of this painting.

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