GALLERIES
COUSINS
© 1997 Keith Halonen    oil on panel    48×30 in /
122×76 cm    NOT FOR SALE
THIS PAINTING IS A
GOLDEN RECTANGLE
DEDICATED TO THE SEQUEIRA FAMILY COUSINS

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 PANTHEON  SERENADER  ONA AND SHEBA  SPECIAL DELIVERY
 HAPPY CAMPER  COUSINS  FIVE  CALIFORNIA GOTHIC

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     These are the children of three sisters and a brother. Interestingly, the boy is the only child of the brother. Each of the subjects was approached some months in advance with the general idea of this painting. Each was told that they would be depicted with their cousins, and that most people who see the painting won't know anything about them.

     Each was asked to decide how he or she would like to appear. They were to consider what clothing they might wear, and while they couldn't each have a separate scene they could request props. Of interest to me here is the mixture of unrelated themes. The subjects were the arbiters of the image content. My task was to bring the disparate elements together.

     The adult woman at right is an actress and chose a decorative late 19th century costume. The boy at left wished to be depicted as an artist. The princess and the doctor are sisters. The youngest child was most demanding. "I want my white chair and my white tights and my print dress. I want my hair up. I want my purple horsey. I want the moon and the stars and the letters A, X, Y, and Z." Her sister stands second from right. She is afflicted with cerebral palsy and would like nothing more than to be a normal child who can run and play baseball with the other children at school.



Detail from COUSINS

     For the palette in this painting, I wanted to feature a spectral array of oil daubs. This is how I arrange color when I paint, but I have an unusual palette which I did not want to depict because it might not be universally recognized as a palette. I found a historical photograph of Derain's palette, which he had arranged quite a bit like my own, and I used it as a model.

     I spent years experimenting with commercial palettes. I wanted a bright white palette to better determine color qualities when smearing paint on it. I tried white paint on the underside of glass but glass has a green cast.

     Some time back, while shopping in the kitchenware section of a department store, I discovered a rigid Corningware panel 14×20 inches. The panels are intended to serve as platforms (there are rubber feet on the underside) which keep hot pans and serving plates from scorching the surface of a dinner table. The panel is brilliant white, exceeding my highest expectations. It is shatter resistant and dried paint can be scraped off using a utility knife blade without fear of scratching the surface.

     When commercially available products fail to provide serviceability, keep your eyes open. You may find something more suitable from a wholly unrelated source. The high tech Corningware panel has served me for 17 years now and I've seen nothing comparable in any art supply store. Sadly, Corning informs me that this product is currently discontinued. I'm trying to persuade them to offer it directly to the art supply marketplace. Meanwhile, scour those flea markets.

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