Tuesday, March 18, 2008

'Venus' - Michael Newberry (update 1)

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It started over seven years ago as an idea (that's her below in August 2001), and over the weekend painter Michael Newberry 'signed off' on Venus -- the last of his 'Mediterranean themed' works -- and with this he takes his art to a whole new level.

 OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA         The great artists like Rodin and Michelangelo breathe life into their figures; through some almost indefinable magic they make them come alive -- as Phil says of Rodin their figures feel as if they're in motion, and captured at a moment of peak emotion or of existential moment.

venus_2001_08-315 Newberry's Roman goddess of love and sexual healing has that white heat quality of the masters, and his subject. Often depicted in art, he captures his Venus arising at the break of dawn.  Luminous, wide-eyed, almost holographic in three-dimensional intensity as he looks to come alluringly out of the canvas at the new world she's born into.

[Venus, 2008, oil on linen, 48 x 48."  Head here to see the progression of the piece in sketches, and here in a 'time lapse' video. Hand study for Venus at left.]

UPDATE:  A neighbour to whom I showed Venus, clearly too used to looking only at bad art, couldn't get to grips with why this would take so long to paint.  I could have told her about the time it takes to make a vision real -- to see on canvas what you see in your mind -- and then to test and re-test that vision, finding new inspiration and new understanding of what the vision means and what it needs. 

I could have told her that but I knew I'd be wasting my time, so I didn't.

For some indication of why it takes so long for a vision like this to become reality, compare the final version above with the painting as it was two years ago -- at a point when lesser mortals would have declared the painting finished.  Open both paintings in separate windows and compare the two paintings:  ask yourself why the painter made the changes he did, and consider the magical effect of those changes.

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