'Theo' painting by Ruth Parson


oil on canvas, 20" x 15" 1995-2005 Ruth Parson

Theo is one of the series of red grided portraits I painted trying to learn to remove myself from the image, in an effort to become a painter rather than a sculptor with paint. I had no idea how to approach the brush work over the red ground, I wasn't certain how to fill those color spaces. Neverthless, I had fun trying. The painting, in the end, came out fairly well and was snatched up by a buyer far before I was ready to let it go. I would have liked to have had time to study the visual texture of the paint and work out in my mind the awkward moments in the image. Instead I moved on to the final piece, Red Heads, for which Theo was a study. I loved working the image through so many stages, hand coloring from the original photo, then moving closer in on Theo with the wax pencil coloring, the first Theo image in oils, then finally the larger oil. By Red Heads, I knew Theo's shapes and surfaces pretty intimately and found the last painting to tell the story as thoroughly as I hoped I could. I have several more phases of the studies and paintings in my collection, the image is strong for me and reads well in any material. I notice that the small and individual brush strokes I used in Theo have stayed with me many years later. My colors and brush strokes have grown up a bit but it is as clearly my hand as my work in clay. Hmm, language.

Red Heads in Seattle' collage by Ruth Parson "Red Heads in Seattle" collage
'Red Heads' painting by Ruth Parson "Red Heads" painting

'Theo', collage by Ruth Parson "Theo" collage

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