Thursday, 7 January 2010

12fp(s) - painting 17

The second of the three paintings I created at the beginning of December was from Alfred Hitchcock's Marnie (1964).
It was actually one of the very first film stills that I had planned to paint for my Film-inspired Painting Series (way back in July/August), however I had put it off for such a long time because I always harboured strong reservations about how well the film still would translate into a painting.

The main reason for that reservation was because I loved the 60s style inherent in the film (particularly in relation to Diane Baker's character), and although I imagined her style adapting well into a portrait painting technically similar to Gil Elvgren's pin-up illustrations, I did not want to adopt that painting style for this series.

By the time December came around (at least four months after I had initially watched the film and planned to paint a still image from it), my admiration for the visual style of the film was no longer at the front of my mind and I finally felt free enough to try interpreting the style of the film into a painting.

I decided to go with quite a minimalist painting style in the hope that this would allow the fashion/style of the characters to stand out as the main focus of the image instead of the painting style/technique: This is similar to a watercolour portrait painting that I did back in 2007 and still really admire.
Just like in 2007, I think the minimalist painting style worked well for highlighting the stylish fashion of the female, however I really dislike what it has done to the portrait of Sean Connery - it just looks bizarre.

Although it's effective for highlighting the characters, I'm not too keen on the background either (although I can't think of what else would have worked better).
In the original film still the background is part of an interior shot but it looked rather ambiguous, so if I tried to literally translate that ambiguous background with paint then it would look even more abstract, which I think would detract from the subjects of the painting. Also, the original background (as seen in the film) was a brownish colour, however I felt that there was already too much orange/brown colours in the faces and that using more of those colours in the background would make the overall painting too flat and unappealing.
I therefore decided to use what I thought would be complimentary - a green colour - for the background.
I'm still in two minds about whether that was the right decision to make because in some ways the green colour is really ghastly while the bizarre shapes and tonal variations of the background don't really tell us anything; yet at the same time I can't help but feel as though the green background is exciting because it makes the audiences eyes jump constantly between the foreground and background in a never-ending duel to maintain your attention.

Despite all this though, I kinda think that for the painting to be most effective I should just cut it in two and show only Diane Baker's character - cos I think that side of the painting looks fine... (?)

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