Between, the last painting/drawing in my post on my first pastels, and this painting, Magdalena, were three paintings that I have mixed feelings about. Adoration was one of those paintings that was a big leap forward at the time. I remember as the painting approached completion I was thinking, "Oh please don't screw this up!" I was taking classes at the time... Continuing Education Units... as required to maintain my teaching license. I was churning these drawings out... staying in the studio... after a full day teaching... until midnight on a frequent basis and putting in 10or 12 hours on Saturday and Sunday. This painting was the last one before classes ended that semester and like Adoration, it was both a huge leap forward for me... and one of those works where everything just "clicked". I frequently work and rework the figures today... but this one just seemed to fall together. In the course, I was taking I was required to write a proposal for my goals. I was beginning Middle-School students and so I proposed making a conscious study of perspective and using it in the work. This painting employed a tilted one-point-perspective. Not long after this work, I realized that what I really loved were the flat patterns and not the use of perspective to create an illusion of depth or space.
With this painting, I became quite interested in the surface. I employed layers of pastels loosely... allowing the colors beneath to show through. I also used sandpaper on the flat acrylic passages and the gold leaf to show the colors of the underpainting. As the painting approached completion, I restated contours using color pencil, pastel pencil, and/or conte. In later paintings I would employ a greater variety of colors... often complementary colors rather than limiting myself to black and Tuscan Red for these contour lines.
I was invited to exhibit Magdalena and several other paintings by the director of the art department at a local college. The work ended up being awarded "Best in Show". One of the academic deans, however, insisted that Adoration and several other paintings be removed due to the nudity.
That was my first taste of censorship.
-My Wife and I with Magdalena
(ps... she's shorter than me... but not THAT much shorter than me. )