When I first saw this picture in my mind. It was a dimly lit room with woman on a bed; head hung back, knees and elbows up barely catching light, not unlike a mountain range in moonlight. A shadowy doorway, containing a dark human shape, stood across the room opposite her supine pose. There would be a corner in the room, deep in shadow vaguely defined, possibly the outline of a dark window shape in the wall. The outline of a figure standing in the doorway, introduces the unknown. Friend or foe, was it leaving, arriving or watching? I contemplated a light source too, a bare bulb overhead or a candle. As I sketched then charcoaled and brushed in deep hues of oil paint, the bed woman and atmosphere, I was thinking continually about the expression on her face. I warned myself that in addition to it being telling, the expression would be upside-down…very difficult. It would inform the viewer ultimately, as to her existential state. Yes, body language is powerful, but also open to interpretation. A facial expression tends to be a universal language. Her face would be closest to the viewer, I became aware it could make or break the picture.</h6>
So…determining her internal feelings would really have to precede everything else. Not that I painted her face first, actually came last. But I needed to know; for her, the viewer and myself. Was she alone, abandoned, afraid, needy, an exhibit, anticipating human contact or simply contemplatively resting, internalizing?
A facial expression, which forms as a result of Internalizing, could be subtler without an observer present, if alone she is not projecting her feelings to another person. They would simply be the result of her internal mood.
I felt the latter was more realistic and honest, it appealed to me. This allowed me to eliminate the doorway and the entity within it, hence the tittle: After You Left. With the door gone, the windows and corners were pointless and would only suggestively duplicate the rectangle of the bed and reduce the drama. The bed has many associations all of which were in-bounds. Mostly provided comfort and contrast. The encircling bed sheet folds surrounding her, give emphasis to the weight of her human form.
With the room nixed, the setting existed in a detached space and time of pure mood. This became an opportunity to increase atmosphere at the periphery allowing my brush to leap in, creating a non-objective painterly lens at the edges of the canvas.