The Midnight Hour

The Midnight Hour, oil on canvas, 42″ x 26″, 2024.

The Midnight Hour is a medium size oil painting on canvas. Finished in 2024, it is based on a previous painting – The Witching Hour. On a video monitor this painting looks almost the same as its predecessor, but not in person. Paintings are physical objects. They have physical dimension. In this newer version the water in the pool is first painted with an impasto white which is then glazed with a transparent blue paint. This creates a tactile watery texture when seen in person. Whether or not this technique is “better” remains to be seen. Constant experimentation is necessary. Throughout Art History artists have made second, even third versions of the same image. This always invites comparisons.

The oranges contrast with green of the leaves and the blue of the pool and jacuzzi. Like the pool water, the oranges are underpainted with a textured white paint which is then glazed with transparent oranges and reds. This creates a more glowing color than would be possible with a single layer of “ala prima” painting. The three figures, a man and two women, are echoed by the three windows. How are those three figures related? What is their connection? A family connection? An emotional connection? There appears to be an implied sexual connection.

This is a Surrealist painting, and it references a Surrealist masterpiece – de Chirico’s Mystery and Melancholy of a Street. This can be seen in the importance of the shadow of the woman coming through the door. Its edges are much more distinct than they should be by comparison with the edges of the shadows of the door jambs. Surrealist paintings are more concerned with psychological expression than with the accurate rendering of appearances.