The Kiss

One of the Highlights from My Upcoming Book, Exploration of Depth, Light, and Love

Newberry, The Kiss, 2019, oil on canvas, 24x36"
Newberry, The Kiss, 2019, oil on canvas, 24×36″

My third book during the quarantine is about recalibrating my artist life. I was grumpy and having trouble seeing. I moved to Idyllwild in 2013 and started learning everything about art from scratch. I started with monochrome still life and figures, then went on to gently add subtle color culminating with this, The Kiss.

You might notice a feeling of a kind of current, almost like they are under water. Though it feels natural the perspective is crazy, it is the reverse of normal, as if they are floating above us. In normal perspective the top of the canvas tilts back, not like in this where it tilts forward.

Newberry, Calla Lilies, 2018, oil on canvas, 16x12"
Newberry, Calla Lilies, 2018, oil on canvas, 16×12″

One of the goals in from my recalibration stage was to master working with black paint. Black paint it can “sit” on the surface and not have the mystery of depth. Sometimes I want it to pop, but if it unintentionally pops then it kills the atmosphere. I developed the black technique used here with a an earlier floral study.

Newberry, The Kiss, detail
Newberry, The Kiss, detail

The color nuances in the shadows of her face are extraordinarily subtle from blue/greenish tints to reflected blushing reds, to the magenta tints of her ear. Tricky to make color ranges in the shadows without destroying the feeling of shadow.

When I am painting, especially when the content is love, I am looking to be blown away by the beauty, intimacy, and authenticity of feeling. Any painted muscular twitch nullifies the emotion. I think their interconnectedness of their faces is fu*&ing beautiful. I feel it.

One of the unexpected things about immersing myself in recalibrating is that it led to the most creative, inventive, and profoundly meaningful periods of my life. My goals had been to be less grouchy and to see a little bit better. Next time I am feeling out of sorts I will quickly go back to fundamentals, yet hope for the stars.

Michael Newberry, Idyllwild, 6/1/2021

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