Depicting the past in muted tones


Christina R. Grachek, The Robles Sisters, 1971. San Diego, California–Pencil study on paper, 10 x 10

I don’t think I’m very different from those artists whose past has been a strong influence on their work. Sure, many artists prefer to separate themselves from their past and create a personal contemporary meaning, social commentary and otherwise. I continue to hone my focus on the past.

For some time, I’ve been drawn to Sofia Coppola’s The Virgin Suicides adapted from the novel with the same title by Jeffrey Eugenides. Paying little mind to the melancholia and teenage angst (as portrayed in the book and film), it has been a goal of mine to reach an Ed Lachman style of cinematographic expression in paint. A quick look at this trailer reveals snippets of muted tones in the environment. Being a product of the 1960’s and 70’s, I can relate to the bored suburban teenage angst (although not quite as morose as TVS). I thoroughly appreciate the atmospheric quality of the 8mm movie reels and random family photos of the day. As I paint in 2D, my references include the old school overexposed analog photos that carry that bitchen quality and beckon me to respond. These photo images are mostly posed shots, almost always overexposed, and without the redeye–why is that?!

As I develop these images (pun intended), I hope that I’m moving closer to the hazy, overexposed film, cube flash quality in my paintings. It means a lot to me to convey the pictoral muted tones of this era.

In case you are wondering, commissions are something we can discuss if you are interested. Email me!


The Virgin Suicides Zine excerpt. Photography credit: Sofia Coppola #stilllife

Work in progress. San Diego sunshine peeking through the drapes. Oil on wood.

Beginning stage 1971 photo reference, I added legs and feet!

#overexposed #paint #figurepainting #sepia #preteen #1970s #thevirginsuicides #sandiego #stilllife #hazy #atmospheric #oilpaint #environment #muted #sofiacoppola

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