Welcome to my Art Blog! I paint or draw most weekdays and sometimes finish a painting a day. I fondly call them my "Postcards from Paradise" because it's such a beautiful place the Lord made here for us.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Sleeveless in Seattle

 Manicure Lady by Nicolai Fechin

The work of Nicolai Fechin is exhibited at the Frye Museum in Seattle through May 19. A couple of artist friends and I drove over to see the show. The collection of drawings and paintings together was very impressive and inspiring. And we couldn't have asked for nicer weather. I walked to the museum on a sunny morning in a sleeveless top: a pleasant and exercising jaunt uphill from a friend's apartment near the water.

I spent almost the whole day at the exhibit, looking at Fechin's brushwork in his oils and admiring his drawings very much. The painting above was my favorite piece in the show. As with most of Fechin's work there, smooth detail is contrasted with heavy paint, applied deliberately but with apparent abandon. The painting above left is absolutely arresting with the roughly applied areas and the smooth detailed passages. The feet are especially detailed and smooth. I could look at them repeatedly and not tire of admiring Fechin's lovely colors and form in the portrayal.

"Manicure Lady" (above right) fascinated me also. Walking up to the painting I noticed the wave of the canvas around the model's face, so took a closer look. There is an added piece of canvas in that area. The edges of the applied fabric are disguised with heavy paint application, but close inspection easily reveals the patch. 

I couldn't help but wonder why it was there. Had the underlying canvas been damaged? One would guess so, from the wavy look of the support. Did the artist slash it accidentally... or even on purpose? Or perhaps another accident had befallen the piece and Fechin rescued his work by slapping on another scrap of canvas. There was no note with the painting about the patch and I'm unable to find any information. Maybe someone can enlighten me?


Julie Ford Oliver said...

Hi Diana,although a genius with paint, Fechin had terrible painting disciplines and a lot of his work deteriorated. He used cottage cheese under his paint and drained all the oil out of his paint by putting it out on cardboard or paper.He wanted a certain areas to be smooth like face and hands, and have a rough texture in other areas. He reportedly wet his palette knife with his tongue. Chunks of paint have been known to fall off his paintings. The painting could have been damaged and he patched the canvas and continued painting. If you ever find out, please let me know.

mary maxam said...

I don't know anything about the patch but what a great trip and fun post.Both of these are just gorgeous

billsharp said...

I'm glad you got over to see the show. I also noticed the patched canvas of the woman with the manicure scissors and wondered how that came about.

Diana Moses Botkin said...

Julie, I have read about Fechin's odd practices like adding cottage cheese as well as doing underpaintings in casein (I assume on oil primed canvas), so was looking for signs of damage at the show. There definitely were some. I also read about his reported habit of licking the canvas. All a bit disturbing!

Mary, thanks so much for dropping by. If you get a chance to go to Seattle before the 19th I highly recommend this show.

Bill, the more I think about that patch, the greater my fascination with how it might have come about!

Helen K Beacham said...

So very interesting! And intriguing! Thx for sharing with us!!!