I worked on my new little Pierrot intermittently over the course of a month. I knew I wanted an austere background, gray and atmospheric but I didn’t know how to give form to the original idea. Almost through serendipity, I happened on a lovely and very gray George Inness at the American Impressionism show at the New Mexico Museum of Art here in Santa Fe. Inness’ “Gray Day Goochland Virginia” was hung low to the ground below another painting. One had to kneel to take in a closer look. There was a mystical quality to the painting, the subtle repeated glazings, and scrubbings almost seemed evident of some prayer or meditation. I wanted that same diaphanous gray.
After seeing this painting, I knew how to make something meaningful out of a solid gray background. The joy in painting “Young Pierrot as Hunter” was not just from the impasto of white paint gracing and dancing in the highlights and the little humor of a young clown and his simian assistant engaged in mock hunting. The passage of grays enveloping the two figures was a delight in itself. I wanted to follow the tradition of Pierrot standing in a theatre, spotlighted in his own world just as Watteau commemorated Gilles as Pierrot.
Oil painting demo: