Monday, September 12, 2011

A sixteen inch Beth Orton head on the wall

Beth Orton
16" x 20"
oil on canvas, 2011

Just as with Cat Power (see previous) I'm also waiting on Beth Orton's new album to come out. Both their last releases date back to 2006. Maybe not as anxiously anticipated as Cat Power's new one, Beth Orton's sure will make a splash in my rankings. Orton's last album Comfort of Strangers now tops the albums' list for the second year running, while for the time being the track Shopping Trolley from it resides at #1 in this year's counting. While awaiting her new one I've been listening to some of her older ones. Stolen Car from her 1999 release Central Reservation entered the list and as a consequence I picked up one of the many paintings I did of her last year and gave it a brand new look. Needless to say I wasn't too happy with the  painting's original look. Now it's good and I learned a lot about that particular painting, that particular photograph it is modeled after, and about portrait painting in general. Not that 16" is all that tall but when a portrait fills it up it is quite big, bigger than life size. I've made many much bigger top 100 portrait paintings but none ever larger than life. Now it's hanging on my wall and a face that big has quite some presence. More than ever before I'm confronted with the spirit of a painted portrait. The look of the eyes, the curve of the lips, every patch of hair, it all has to be just right or else... the painting will complain. I've never met Beth Orton, never seen her perform, just like the music, her videos, her humor, and I painted a dozen portraits of her.

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