the literary foil, the painterly foil


2014-08-28 12.56.21
2014-08-28 12.56.37

2014-08-28 12.56.33

 

I thought it might interest you to see the final conceptual sketch that I just sent off to California, to the church that is commissioning the painting.  The initial sketch, which I featured a couple of weeks ago, was not yet fleshed out with the imaginative element.  I spent a couple more hours on this piece, heightening certain elements, subduing others, emboldening certain dark values, rubbing out highlights.  Above all, carefully orchestrating the value range of the whole- the figure in the foreground and the background- so as to have one, cohesive work.  If I have a decided influence, in my sketches, it would probably be the etchings of Rembrandt- the pitting of the light on the lower hill, against the dark of the sky, and the pitting of the dark of the silhouetted cross against the light of the sky.  In literature, they call that a “foil,” which means placing the most evil character against the most virtuous character, so as to heighten the element in both.  In painting, we don’t really have such a good term, but when teaching I often say “Light on dark, dark on light.”  It’s a silhouette, and a vignette.  Somewhat abstract, but study the drawing, and you’ll see this “painterly foil” principle at work everywhere in this piece.

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