March 6, 2019

"Casamento's Oysters on a Formica Table"

Oil on museum quality Ampersand Gessobord panel
8" x 8"

  You may have noticed that today's painting is dated 2018.  There is a reason for that and forgive me if I have addressed this before, but it is worth repeating.  There is an old adage, nay, an axiom, that states a painting is never finished but merely stopped at a given time.  It is knowing when to stop that separates the good artists from the great.  When I stopped this painting, I was not quite happy with the results.  The flesh was a lifeless, monotone grey.  Since the daily paintings are meant to be exercises or warm-ups, I just moved on, chalking it up to a bad day.  However, I just couldn't let this one go. I did varnish it, in a forlorn hope that the sunken colors would sing and be brought back to life.  They didn't and it wasn't, so it went into "the box."  The Box is sort of like the Island of misfit toys for lost and forgotten paintings.  I had not given the piece much more thought until a few days before Mardi Gras. While watching the Food Channel, a segment on Diners, Drive-ins and Dives featured Casamento's on Magazine Street in New Orleans, which is where I first encountered these three. I knew then that I had to revisit them. 
  Sure, I could have started with a fresh panel but I wanted to experiment with removing the old varnish.  Hitherto, I had never removed varnish from a painting.  I purposely use Soluvar vanish because it is self leveling and easily removable for the restoration process years from now.  I am happy to report that it does come off nicely, without disturbing the paint beneath.  This painting had been varnished at least 6 months ago so I wasn't too worried about that aspect. The nearly grisaille under-paint took the fresh glazes and scumbles beautifully, as if to say "What took you so long?"  Like Lazarus rising from the grave, there is new life in these pretty, puffy little bi-valves.   Laissez les bons temps rouler!

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