I Hart Deer
Painting (WIP): process photos.
Updated 2018-09-21: New photo, and significantly expanded discussion.
Read on for photos of previous states, and a thorough discussion.
Please note: This painting is still Work-In-Progress. I am not sure if I want to finish it or leave it as "finished" in this unfinished state - time will show.
For initial deer reference I used a "CC-0" image from a "stock photo" website. I tried to find the name of the creator of the image in order to give credit, but I had no luck.
The pose was the reason I selected this reference: The deer is roaring while showing its behind to the spectator. The reason I chose deer is that it has a strange double role in Art History: Some of the earliest cave paintings from some 40,000 years ago was of deer, and a modern "kitsch painting archetype" is the motif of a deer (by a lake) - ie the deer motif can be said to represent both very high "artistic value" (past) and very low "artistic value" (present). The mythological significance of deer is not particularly relevant for this painting.
A search engine helped discover that a copy of this image was used on several different web sites, it seemed like hundreds of different web pages were all using this exact image. But I did not count so perhaps the real figure is closer to 100 than it is to 200 - the exact number is not important here. The important part is that this image was used and re-used seemingly everywhere... and that is was wrong:
I am not a biologist, but I think this hart may be of the species "Red Deer" (there are several types of Red Deer). Some anatomical details had to be adjusted as the original reference material was bad quality; it was simply not anatomically correct for any type of deer that I compared it to in scientific reference material. This way the "Stock Photo" revealed itself to be no photo at all: it was an imaginary deer, a creation. Probably painted in some software program by an anonymous artist.
The Red Deer was the type I thought shared most features with this imagined deer from the stock "photo", so I based the changes on better quality Red Deer references.
Colour-wise the hart painted here doees not reflect the real colours of a red deer, or any other deer - as an example the rear part of most deer types has a white colour. Here, the deer is painted using a traditional painting method known from medieval times: The Verdacchio. This was, and is, an under-painting technique. But then these are modern times so the deer is left in an underpaint-only state, being half-done only.
Painting the hart I made sure that it could not be real: the deer has no hoofs and is not connected to the ground in any way. Indeed there is no ground.
The chair used in the background mosaic is an accurate outline of what is known as Van Gogh's Chair. Again, the colouring is deliberately "wrong" and the chair has no details. In the chair-mosaic I have used the individual chairs as monotone "pixels" making the background a "chair-pixelated image" of a forest scene in sunrise (for the optimist), or in sunset (for the rest).
All background colours are somewhat "loosely" applied. The colour does not always stay inside contour lines, it is applied in one layer only making brush strokes visible and surface colours uneven. Also, some paint has been worn off in spots by contact to other paper pieces while still wet. IOW it has been handled with little respect and less care, here: deliberately so. Half a cup of coffee has even been poured over the painting (in state four, after the photo below was taken). To reveal this "sloppyness" you need to invest a minimum of time in observation of the painting - from even a small distance, or for a quick superficial look, everything looks fine and dandy.
The background for the chair mosaic is a layer of silver-coloured acrylic paint: not a real silver plating, not even similar. Silver is/was used in photography in recent times and it even used to be the universal currency a little more than 1,000 years ago. Here, it's fake.
I will not explain the "comment on modern painting" part in detail here. If I did it would probably be considered a quite harsh comment. However, the intelligent spectator well versed in Art may be able to read it directly off the painting. I do hope such people still exist.
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