The quiet days after New year prompted me to imagine what working from home might look like. This young lady is obviously enjoying a time out. Nothing in her hands, no cat nearby, no coffee but looking straight at you, as if caught mid conversation.
The image was driven by my ongoing quest to simplify. So, limited palette, limited visual content. I placed the figure centrally. The scarlet chair acted as my starting point, I drew that first because I enjoyed the curves and the contrast between the mass of the fabric covered shell and the spindly metal undercarriage. The colour of the fabric determined the colour of the pyjamas and the rest of the setting. I wanted to limit myself to three colours, the red, the grey and the tans. Then I “collaged in” the figure so that she is not quite sitting on it.
As I started to paint, incidentals suggested themselves to me: the mask on her right is based on a real mask we have but its inclusion was prompted by the shape of the woman’s head. The very strong shadows found in the real carving forced me to make a similar binary split between the two sides of the woman’s face. I also enjoyed the way the mask’s eyes are cut out, so I could repeat the pale yellow there and the shadowy eyes of the woman.
I had put her right foot in a slipper because it once again simplified the graphics but left the other one bare, a private joking reference to a large painting of mine from the late 70s known to our children as “Mummy with one shoe” so that prompted the dropped slipper under the chair.
Having started out with the aim of simplifying and then introduced a filigree of secondary elements I then introduced a pattern of stars onto the pyjamas. Let’s see how far I can take simplification on the next one.