This rich, acrylic study from the 1980s is of a serious-faced woman, the artist’s loving friend, Allison. Her life was taken suddenly, at a time when they had high hopes for a future together.
The artist chose red and blue violet colour combinations for this painting. Colours have powerful meanings for the artist and the viewer alike. Red and blue violet (purple) colours are associated with passion, royalty, spirituality and transformation, as well as mourning.
The deep hues of Allison’s apparel and the background are in contrast to her porcelain body. Her fair skin tones are softly blended and her facial and upper body shapes are smooth. The mask-like face with its milky, yellow skin tones is one of the ‘signatures’ of the artist. Yellow is the complementary colour of purple and they interact favourably. However the yellow colour has been toned down in this painting, and some of the effect has been lost.
The painting is quite simple, as repeated brush strokes and dabs of paint are used in Allison’s clothing. Her gold neckband is simple, yet effective. The artist has given Allison soft wings.
One may well ask if the artist was influenced by the techniques used by Russian expressionist painter, Alexie Jawlensky (‘Young Girl in a Flowered Hat’ (1910)), or artists such as Modigliani, or even Egyptian art, as in many of his paintings he used similar techniques.
The artist seems to have expressed a feeling for his subject, and not just copied a photograph of her.
Acrylic on Masonite, 1980s. (Cleaned and framed.)