Look at the unexpected complexity of the shadow she casts on the wall just to her left. It's a great little abstract painting in its own right. And I think it unconsciously suggests to us viewers that there's more to Hopper's woman than meets the eye.
It was painted from life, with my eye initially attracted to the bold profile of the dark hillside. But within that sihouetted form an intricate pattern of shrubbery was shaking up my expectations that the surface of the hill would be ordinary or predictable. It lent the hill a uniqueness and individual personality. Like the that cast shadow in the Hopper movie theater above, it is a little abstract painting all by itself.
One of the reasons I keep going back to working directly from nature is she is a storehouse of gem-like little designs like this that make the world feel so much deeper and richer.
In the previous blog post I was analyzing Joseph DeCamp's oil The Blue Cup.
Studying his model he discovered some exquisite little passages where the patterns of shapes sound just the right visual chord. For example, who would have thought the back of the woman's hair could have such a surprisingly distinctive silhouette as this?
Or that her waist, the white apron, and her black skirt would come together into this intricate bouquet?