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Number 16

June - August 1997

Logan Franklin
Marin Ensemble
1996
Oil on canvas
36 x 48 in.

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LOGAN FRANKLIN was listening to jazz and sketching. He does that a lot. The wail of the saxophone carried him back to his youth. He remembered the nighttime drives from his native Danville to The Black Hawk and other San Francisco jazz spots. He drew a bridge. Then a saxophonist leaning back, then a woman in a red dress (perhaps a singer) and some other figures. He thought, "This is going to be a painting." He says, "if you sketch every day, the ideas just come."

After a few days of making working drawings on paper - adding more elements, trying out compositions - he began a 36x36" canvas. First he drew in pencil, then laid on a thin acrylic wash of burnt umber-"painting out the white," he calls it. Then he went over the lines "more or less" with undiluted burnt umber. Next, he blocked in the colors. Once those were dry, he switched to oil, painting "kind of loose, kind of moving it all around."

He worked on the canvas daily for three weeks, tightening, changing colors, improvising on the theme. After each session, he turned it to the wall so that he'd see it with "fresh eyes" when he started in again. One day he decided that it was nearly done, so he photographed it; this way, if final touches made things worse, he could "undo" them. At some point - probably in a few days - he will "just know" that it is finally finished and then he will sign it and get it framed and start on the next painting.

-San Rafael CA, 05.22.97

Copyright © 1997 by studioNOTES


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