This was great fun to paint, and it is part of a series of game paintings I'm involved in. I've completed Chess, and now Backgammon. I briefly considered checkers, but no, the checkerboard in perspective... well, I had had enough of it for a good while. Now I know that a backgammon board is much more difficult, with the long tongue pattern in perspective... Live, try things out, and learn, take on challenges, right! It keeps life interesting.
The Venetian masks are based on typical template masks, with my own decoration on them. In this painting, I really focus on creating shimmering glowing colour. Pastels are a very versatile medium, which allows the artist to layer even complementary colours without creating the proverbial "mud". Not that there exists such a thing, "mud" are lovely neutral colours, which do a great job in the right place in the right painting.
This is not such a painting.
This is a colour feast, with exuberant singing high-chroma pigments. However, no major mass in the paintings is un-mixed colour. Every colours is created by layering strokes, laying them down overlapping and adjacent, weaving the pigments as if they were photons of light. (By the way, is light a particle waiving, or a wave being particular?) In fact, there are greys in the painting, particularly (!) in the "skin tone" of the mask in profile, but they are optical greys, created by the prismatic colours I always use.
Two close-up details show the weaving of pigment. The camera can't capture how smoothly the colours transition into each other (as a colletor and friend said, "your paintings are beautiful online, but a thousand times more beautiful in real life"). But this inability in the camera reveals the strokes, and that is very usable when I want to show that aspect.
The grey, white-in-shadow, of the profile mask is made out of many colours, including warm peaches.
Above is a close-up detail of the corner of the fan. The warm reds are tempered by strokes of olive green, and so is the intense cobalt blues of the hat, which also got some violets. There is a little bit of background showing at bottom left corner, and the yellows are tempered by pinks and violets.
As with Chess, there is a story in the painting, a hidden-in-plain-sight one. With Chess, I asked the readers to share their interpretations in the blog post "Do we communicate, you and I?", and I'd love for you to do it here too!
Both paintings are going to be exhibited soon, on the 18th of May, and I will print ut the stories for the audience to read.
I'll reveal one thing about the Backgammon: The actual game on the board. It sure looks like red (the coquettishly smiling blue lady) has no reason to look so happy this close to the end of the game. While I reasearched backgammon rules (I did learn it a few decades ago, but have not played much), I came across a text by Ed Collins called A Sweet (and Miraculous) Backgammon Win (actually, they are two such wins). In this very situation I have painted, he threw a double one, and eventually managed to win the whole game, against the odds. I found this so charming I used that point in the game for my pastel painting.
Click on the link to see a larger version of Backgammon.