done or not done…

… that’s the question.

Not quite sure whether to draw a bird just to the left of Joseph’s pocket, coming in at the diagonal from the upper left corner, for strangeness. (Never underestimate the power of strangeness.) I shall sleep on this one. But if I do it, I shall make a bird like the one in the upper right of this…

… which was one of a flock that appeared around the Princess at the end of The Soldier’s Tale. (In my head the birds represented lost souls stolen by the Devil.)

21 thoughts on “done or not done…

  1. i love the style you developed for this piece, truly, wonderment is the perfect word. it makes me feel joyful to look at it, and i’m so, so happy that you made an alternate ending 🙂
    the colors are just magical.

  2. Pingback: Flight | Clive Hicks-Jenkins' Artlog:

  3. love the birds and the fact that they are quirky colours and not real, which makes them all the more believable in the story as otherworldly. Like the unusual idea that the bird is leaving the picture and taking the eye away with it rather than the traditional way moving the eye around. Look forward to seeing this.

    • The coming/going thing was strange. I was sure the bird should be arriving, and it never occurred to me to have it flying away. Yet when I temporarily collaged a bird onto the painting to check for positioning and effect, I was amazed by how wrong the former felt, and how right the latter. I’m really glad I checked, because I nearly didn’t.

  4. A bit Chagall here I think, the peachy turquoise bird to the left looks more strange to me, and I like the shape. Somehow I align it with Joseph’s character pictorially and as a compositional echo, if that makes sense. However, I am sure you will make it all work together really well.

    • The bird I’ve chosen isn’t in that little picture, and flies from right to left. Interestingly there is something of Joseph’s character in it, an aspect I’ll emphasise in the finished work.

  5. I am with all of the above! I hope to see the bird, but you will, as always, make the right decision. It just keeps getting better and better!

  6. I actually like that space left spare like that but I suspect I would love it no matter what you add/do not add.

    • Lorrie, after a walk to the neighbours for tea and cake, I’ve come back to the studio with a rested eye and blu-tacked one of the cut-out birds from the film into the space to trial the idea. It looks very good. The only difference from what I envisaged is that it’s flying away from, rather than toward the couple. I tried a version where it was approaching them, but that didn’t work ’emotionally’. Now it’s almost as though Joseph’s soul is already untethered and ready to leave, personified by the little bird. I’ll make the permanent change in pastel tomorrow.

        • Apparently the net carried by the ‘old man’ in the first scene of The Soldier’s Tale, was intended by Ramuz to reference the folk tradition of the Devil catching souls in the form of butterflies. But although the net is mentioned in the stage directions, it plays no part in the story. In the animation I found a good use for the net at the moment when Joseph, at last realising what he’s lost, places the ‘memory’ of his home in it, at which point the camera pulls out to show the Devil waiting to make off with his catch. The Devil is quite happy stealing memories as well as souls!

          Later in the animation a flock of birds… better visually than butterflies and also associated with the underworld… flutter around the Princess, just at the point she’s led Joseph to the border of his own land, where we know (and I believe she does too) that the Devil waits for him. My underlying idea was that the birds reference the souls of others betrayed just as Joseph has been, indicating that before him this sleeping Princess had snared many would-be suitors in the Devil’s net. Oh, I have had no end of fun with this project.

  7. Owing to the five hour time difference, you may have already made a decision about this… however, it does seem that the upper left quadrant of the composition is a little spare … I think a bird would be a welcome bit of visual interest there. My 2¢… and you know I ALWAYS have a pocket of such pennies! ; )
    xo AM

    • I only finished working less than forty minutes ago, and so you’re quick off the mark, Anita. While I rather like the vacant space of the upper left, adding the bird wouldn’t necessarily undo that airiness, and I’m coming to the conclusion that I shall pop him in. But I’m a little tired right now, and so may wait until tomorrow. I’ll have to produce him in pastel because of the dark ground, and so my hand needs to be very steady. Weariness always renders me too clumsy for delicate work.

  8. Gorgeous, it captures feelings and the time and place so well, we love it and we’ll look forward to an addition or not, either way it’s perfect

    • Thank you Jenny. Tomorrow will see the bird appear, or not. But I’m glad you like the painting well enough as it is, and yet you’re open-minded about a possible addition. (Or not!) What’ll remain the same is that Joseph will continue to be smitten, and the Princess will continue to avert her eyes from his, whether or not a woodpecker darts at them like an arrow from on high!

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