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Frank Bramley - Domino! (1886)

Leonard Campbell Taylor - Patience (1906)

What better way to pass idle time than by occupying oneself with a game, if not one that offers a bit of a challenge? For today's December Double I would like to present 'Domino!' by English painter Frank Bramley and 'Patience' by fellow English painter Leonard Campbell Taylor. Both depict players contemplating their next move in their respective games from which each painting takes its namesake. I love how the artists’ framing and use of body language generate suspense while also providing discussion about the relationship between each pair of subjects.

In 'Domino!' my eyes are drawn to the woman with her back toward us, sitting up in her chair with a domino in one hand while griping her seat with the other, as she tries out-maneuver her opponent, casually hunched over her side of the table and seemingly disinterested in the game that she appears to be winning. Well, at least that’s my interpretation. I enjoy Bramley’s soft rendering of light and color throughout the painting, including that found within the basket of fabric in the foreground, which provides a neat contrast to the hard, rigid edges found on a domino.

From the second painting, Taylor’s ‘Patience,’ I love the artist’s specific placement of objects throughout the scene, most notably the vases in the background and the presentation of the cards on the table in the foreground, all supplied in crisp detail. The young woman’s face appears tranquil, as if she were comfortably meditating on her cards, and there’s an elegance in her posture which commands the viewer’s attention. I also find myself pondering her companion, whether he’s a coach, friend or possibly a lover, but nevertheless, he surveys the scene from above, offering his company though respectfully not interfering in her game.
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December 2016

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