Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Digna, 2005

This is the largest painting I have ever done. I wanted to capture the simplicity and beauty of a new apartment and the woman who lived there with me. The yellow walls against the plain bed with purple sheets was so striking I chose them as a secondary subject.

I did some research on how to do portraits and the take-away I got is to start with a warm dark color and then layer the lighter skin tones on top. Also, my goal was to create a flat image that looked more like abstract color fields than objects (but I enjoyed creating shadows and lights on the body). I also wanted to step outside the boundary of academic perspective, so the walls and floor do not line up "properly." I am immensely pleased with this work.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Crone Studies, 2001

This is a good example of my early art at about age 24. I was praised in high school for being able to copy anything well in drawing, but I eventually learned that this is not art, this is technical skill. So I got intimidated and stopped. I wish someone had told me this was a perfectly good beginning.

Typical of this period was painting with acrylics on found planks of wood. Color mixing was rather foreign to me, and the result was usually a surprise. I also frequently used colors directly out of the bottle, and there was usually only one layer of paint in each color area.

This has a rather morbid subject: it's about female genital mutilation. I have female parts raining from clouds/ mountains resembling breasts. They are being collected as precious objects by an odd-looking crone. Why she is collecting is a mystery that I still have not figured out. Feminist themes are also very typical of this time period for me.

I used found wood not simply for thrifty reasons, but because I had a strict idea of how much material I could consume and "waste." I was almost pathological about it. Years later I can consent to not applying these strict rules to art, which is widely held as a higher cause, so while I do sometimes use second-hand objects for creating art, I also do not limit my buying and use of art materials... within reason.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Early Spring, 2006



Here are two preparations for what I think is a final (below) although I frequently try to come up with ways to improve it. (The first is done in the Windows Paint program, which I like for it's inflexibility and challenge) This is a good example of an idea that was very hard for me to translate onto the canvas. I saw a scene: a squirrel hurriedly jumping all around a stack of tree branches looking for food. It was moving so fast that I could only see the tail- and that is what I wanted to portray. I wanted to suggest the movement of time (multiple tails) and motion and the impression on my human eye. I researched Futurism to see how they depicted motion. Clever, perhaps, but not expertly executed I am afraid. Still, I do like it for what it is. I may experiment more with it someday.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

The Goldfinch; after Fabritius, 2002


One of my first large-picture art books had an image of a goldfinch tethered to a box on a wall. In this copy-cat version, I used an American Goldfinch and tried to tread the line between it being a female in summer or a male in winter. Also, this is anthropomorphized- I wanted to explore the idea of a person who felt safer being in a restrained position. The bird is actually wearing a pair of black shiny shorts.

I was very pleased with everything except the actual bird- especially the very oil-like effect I was able to create with my cheap acrylic paints. I do, however, like the wings.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Enthroned, 2008

A portrait of a sleeping Brian. He sleeps a lot, and I once noticed that he looked like a dead Jesus when he was sleeping on his back like that with his mouth wide open and skin dull and pale due to a deep slumber. I was able to take half a dozen photos of him without him noticing.

Photos, that is a good topic. I frequently paint from photos, which is of course far from the natural ideal of painting in the moment. In the moment you are subject to the lighting and emotion of the very situation that caught your attention. But from a practical standpoint, who gets to do that? I suppose only if you have set up an experience, i.e. a sitter or brought all your materials to find a landscape, can this ideal be reached. While I can see that as a good way to make studies, I don't look for a painting. I don't decide to paint and then look for a subject. The image is pushed into my consciousness as a whole, and then I try my best to replicate it.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Inheritance, 2007


This is a painting I am very fond of. It is about the heart problems that exist in my immediate family. The hearts are partially derived from medical drawings and partially from my own interpretation/ imagination.

It has been described as everything from an uplifting image to a disturbing image. To me it looks like a shipwreck with hearts in a current. This sort of just happened; all I really knew when I started painting is that I wanted it to focus on three hearts and for it to be a kind of family portrait (hence the oval canvas).