“Big Foot” day two…

“Big Foot” day two…


No offense to my model, but in trying to come up with a working title for this painting I just can’t get beyond “Big Foot.” I mean, that’s a really big foot, ya know?

There are some other “Big Feet” paintings around, some of them famous, some not so. For example there’s “Dead Christ” by Andrea Mantegna:

Andrea Mantegna

Edouard Manet’s version, “The Dead Christ and the Angels”:


His “Dead Toreador” has pretty big feet, too.


Uhm, I’m noticing a theme here, which was not my intent, but there seem to be a lot of dead big footed people painted throughout art history. At least that’s what you get when you google “Images – foreshortening.” So I hereby declare that I will only depict very-much-alive big feet in this new series.

One more, by Annibale Carracci, “The Dead Christ:”


Sorry for the diversion but I really did find it interesting just how many paintings of dead people came up while I was looking for examples of foreshortening. I guess it’s because most of them are lying down, (duh!) which forces the issue somewhat. When you look at the human body and one part is close up and the other farther away some part of it is going to be foreshortened, i.e. appearing larger than it actually is, in relation to the other parts of the body.

Hence, “Big Foot” here. That foot is huge in relation to the head, for example, because the view is from below, and at foot-level.

I’ve used foreshortening a lot in my paintings, mostly because I like presenting the figure in ways that create some tension. And it’s challenging to get it right, to make it believable.

OK, back to today’s work. That foot changed positions twice today – I had decided in the middle of the night (yawn) that I should let the foot fall a bit to the viewer’s left, in order to introduce another angle into the paintings, and to make it look a bit more relaxed. So I changed it. Then I changed it back.

I decided there were already enough angles in the painting, and that I needed that straight-up-and-down foot to anchor those other angles to the picture plane. The vertical line created by the upright foot provides some relief to the other crazy angles caused by the straps and legs of the lounge chair, the arm and other leg, and the uplifted face.

Speaking of crazy angles, the legs of the lounge chair as I sketched them in yesterday were causing me some grief – I knew I needed to find a way to differentiate them from each other else I’d be terribly confused when I got around to actually painting them in detail. So I blocked them in with my favorite shadow-purple, and a little white, to help define them and mark where the shadows were.


Once I knew that they wouldn’t be (as) confusing later I moved on to (gasp) flesh.

Now remember, I haven’t painted in a while, and as I’ve repeatedly told my students, when you don’t paint every day (do as I say, not as I do) you have to learn how all over again. Luckily it’s a bit like riding a bike, the skills come back fairly quickly once you actually get back to the studio. But I did have a moment of hesitation when I began, and said as much to my studio mate, which, emotionally, is much like confessing to your mother that you’ve been smoking crack. No one wants to admit that they’re terrified of doing something they’ve done A THOUSAND TIMES BEFORE!

Luckily, she said “you have NOT forgotten” and I got over myself fairly quickly.


I worked a bit on one leg, put in some darks here and there, and then could not help myself for one more minute and headed over to that (big) foot. I got a very thin layer of paint down and I tell you, I cannot WAIT to tackle that sucker tomorrow!


Here’s what I ended up with at the end of the day:


Til tomorrow, then, Aloha!


P.S. I did find some big feet in some of Eric Fischl’s paintings. This one is “The Bed, The Chair, The Sitter,” and it seems that both of these folks are very much alive.



3 thoughts on ““Big Foot” day two…

  1. Janet

    Ginny, I love looking at works of art of all kinds, but have never taken a class in Art Appreciation or anything like that, so am always appreciating in the most uninformed/superficial way. Reading your posts about the process of painting, and the decisions you make and why you make them (and sometimes un-make them), adds a little bit of…sophistication? depth? whatever it is…to my understanding and appreciation. For example, I knew I loved the beginnings of this painting, and loved the way that big foot sticks right up there in front, but couldn’t have told you why, or what one has to do with the other. I’m on my break at work, and this has given me a little happy boost for the day. Thanks :-)

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