Saturday, February 13, 2010

Dawn (dramatic version)
24 x 36 Oil on Linen

Dawn (lyrical version)

When I was painting the plein air study for Dawn many years ago I heard it as a piece for solo cello. Later when I decided to do a larger version I wanted it to be bigger and bolder. I wanted to give it a voice, rich and powerful, not just a tenor but a dramatic tenor. The clouds became intensely colored, the sunrise overwhelming. I made it as big and romantic as I could then sent it out to a gallery. After a while it came back and I sent it out again, with a little less confidence this time. Recently it came back again and I sat with it and listened. I still liked the tenor voice but maybe not so dramatic, perhaps a lyric tenor might be more sensitive. So I stripped off the varnish and reworked the painting, this time giving it more of a bel canto feeling. It is the same scene, the same aria, only this time it is sung pianissimo, the clouds sotto voce. I like it better now, it has more breadth and subtlety. It is a difficult scene to paint because it can seem rather trite and cliché, but if it is sung with the right voice it can be stunningly beautiful.....