A photograph of a wistful young woman and a solitary rose. Is she a far-away sweetheart? A long-lost child? For every art lover that wants a mystery to solve, I present Untold Story.
The girl in the photo is an homage to The Young Shepherdess, by French artist William-Adolphe Bouguereau (1805-1905). I have always loved the haunting look of this portrait. The rose was from a dozen that I bought my wife, Sharon. She kindly didn’t notice that I only gave her 11!
Sometimes I get my inspiration from unlikely sources; Untold Story was one of those. After cleaning off a ceramic palette that I use in my studio, I was intrigued by the pattern of the paint residue left behind. The swaths of paint were so attractive that I took a photo to use as a reference and reproduced the effect on canvas. The effect looked like a wall you might find a back room of a bodega or loft, weathered with age and accumulated paint.
On top of this highly abstract background, I painted an ultra-realistic photo and rose as the painting’s focal point and source of mystery. The photo and masking tape were painted in the trompe l’oeil style which creates an optical illusion that the items on the canvas are three-dimensional and real. In particular, the edges of the photo and appearance of the tape fool the eye into thinking they are actually affixed to the surface of the canvas. (trompe l’oeil means “deceive the eye” in French.