Sunday, 1 July 2012
173. ROSIE AND PUMPKIN by VANESSA LUBACH
The portrait is of the artist’s daughter, Rosie, holding the family’s bantam, Pumpkin. It's an action painting. Not in the art theory sense of action painting i.e. how the artist makes art - by dripping, dabbing, smearing, and even flinging paint on to the surface of the canvas. More about the action taking place before our eyes. Most portraits are of someone or something capable of sitting or standing or lying still for some considerable time, for oil painting is a slow process. Alas, chickens are not known for their willingness to pose for camera or easel. I have watched my two small grandaughters handle their beloved chickens - Ivy, Betty, Nettle, Fern, Lily - with a confidence and skill which escapes me.
Initial sketches and longer sittings were made with Rosie holding a toy helmet. Rapid sketches and photographs of Pumpkin were used later. The artist has done well to capture what can only last for a very short time.
The eye is drawn to an alert Pumpkin painted in warm colours set against the blues and greys. Lubach says her aim was ‘to convey the moment of quiet astonishment that followed the battle of wits necessary to catch the agile and evasive bantam.’ I think Rosie's expression is remarkable: a shy pleasure in her success combined with her understanding of the importance of the task in hand. And a young person's endearing reticence as she co operates with her mother/artist's project.