Oil on Panel / 6 x 6 inches / ©John Farnsworth
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REPEAT OR REDO?
About a week ago, I posted a painting of a little TUTUMSI (COMANCHE) KACHINA
Today, as I was looking through the archives, guess what I came across? Yep, another painting of the same Kachina. I was shocked at first, and embarrassed. For about a half a second. I thought about it for a while, and decided that this might be an interesting opportunity to continue the discussion about the use of photographs as research for paintings.
As you can see, both were painted from the same photograph of the same Kachina. They are the same. And yet they are different. Which is “right”? The doll has a green face. But which green? The eyes are different. Which is correct? Does it really matter? Remember, the intention is not to reproduce the subject, but to represent it. Re-produce versus re-present.
Since each painting was done without thought of the other, the differences are not obvious. They are, instead, two somewhat different interpretations of the subject. I have seen one thing when looking at the photograph on one day, and another thing on another day.
Other changes, including the vastly different backgrounds, are the product of other things seen, other thoughts and influences brought to bear on each day’s painting. On one day I found the feathers in the ears of more interest and a greater challenge than the bedraggled feather adornment on top of the head. On the first day, the shoulder and arms were seen to be of greater importance than on the second day.
The same carver, carving the same doll, may carve it differently, emphasize different features, use a different green, or a different yellow. Two carvers would not likely make two identical dolls. Throw in the variations inherent in carvings from different villages, or separated by time, and you begin to see the way the dolls themselves can be the same and different at the same time.
So there you have it. Or them. Which do you like better? Why?
Click on http://dmnsdocuments.s3.amazonaws.com/DMNS-Annals-2-low-res.pdf for a very interesting pdf file about Kachinas and Kachina naming from the Denver Museum of Nature and Science.
CANYON ROAD STUDIO Daily Photograph #1,648
During my first year in Santa Fe, I rented a studio behind El Farol on Canyon Road. It was a great studio. An old adobe with white walls and wood floors, it had a bedroom, living room and kitchen and bath. It had high ceilings. It was quiet and secluded, yet an easy and enjoyable walk to the plaza down Canyon Road. I considered the portal of El Farol my office, the porch swing and garden at El Zaguan made for a relaxing break on the way to or from the plaza, and the original Artisan store was just steps away. That was a good and productive location until I ran across a small house on Paseo de Peralta that would make a fine little studio/gallery, with the added benefit of great exposure.
CANYON ROAD STUDIO
If you haven’t already, be sure to scroll all the way down to read about your chance to participate in the creation of a documentary Be Home Soon.
And start getting ready for THE KACHINAS ARE COMING. That’s the big Kachina show Thea wil be putting on of my Kachina paintings the first of September at David Anthony Fine Arts, here in Taos. I hope to see you there!
How would you like to be Associate Producer on an important film while sharing in the realization of a dream? You can, and at the same time give a leg up to a good and deserving woman, our special friend, Melissa Howden. To find out how, just click on this link: