Maryanne, complete

At least I have this to show for my week-long bout with illness. Perhaps my desire to move as quickly as I could, but being unable to move at more than a glacial pace, is the reason for this painting’s somewhat frenzied paint application. Or it could just be my usual need to plow forward, tearing myself away from my limiting idea of what a painting must be. One thing I am happy about is that I allowed the paint to create the painting: thoughtful of course, but with healthy doses of spontaneity and serendipity. A very effective prescription.

Maryanne (complete)



All Hail the Queen

Her previous girlfriend called her ‘La Reina’, the Queen. I call her ‘Little’. Somewhere between these two poles I am seeking a true(ish) version of Maryanne. This is Maryanne after a few painting sessions. She finally agreed to be painted because, she said, “I won’t take it personally, since you make everyone look …. ” Hmmm. I wonder what she meant.

Maryanne (in process 1)

The body

Today I am remembering the joy of discovery that accompanied life drawing which I did almost every day for years when I was in my teens and twenties. The feeling I am describing often happened when I found the plane that emerged from the lighting being just so. The plane affirmed what I had learned in anatomy class or from my studies of plaster casts, old master drawings and marble sculptures. I am discovering this feeling anew while painting from a beautiful drawing by Pontormo.

When I was looking for the next images that will occupy my attention I knew that I wanted to get back to the body. I thought of my friend who told me that my paintings of bodies captured the pain that lives within the body.

I have written before about the books my father brought home from Europe and one in particular was a book of Michelangelo drawings that I would copy. When I was at the NY Academy, I fell in love with Pontormo. I thought about what is beautiful to me, what could take up all of my attention, and I thought of these drawings. I have a copy of the Hacker Art Books revised edition of of Cox-Rearick’s 2 volume The Drawings of Pontormo. But of course the quality of the images do not compare to the digital ones I found on the Getty Open Content site. I printed the Reclining Youth and have been studying it and painting from it. I hope this will take me further into other drawings by Pontormo as well as drawings I have done in the past.

I am seeking a transformation with these paintings from drawings: by taking something I love and all of the feelings that are attendant with that love I hope to create something intense and profound. At first I was thinking of the Buddhist concept of emptiness and trying to achieve this through the contrary process of addition. The result: to achieve a sort of disappearance or separation from time and place. But that is perhaps too much of a task. I will be satisfied with achieving a definition of alchemyan inexplicable or mysterious transmuting.

The image below was begun only recently. Much more to discover.

Reclining Youth (from Pontormo drawing)

Father as a child in Leipzig

I am leaving for California soon. I hope to see the paintings of the Bay Area artists at the John Berggruen Gallery in San Francisco, and to visit some other galleries while there. I have begun a painting of my father, and will be adding a slightly menacing figure who will be measuring his head. I had the pleasure of cataloging some books on phrenology a short time ago, and wanted to use that quack science because it was later manipulated by racists to justify their ideas of a master race. Whenever one group of people decide they are better than another horrible things can happen and they certainly did during my father’s childhood. I really like the photograph of my father that I am working from, because he is caught in the middle of laughing; a seemingly true and robust laugh that I haven’t seen often enough.

Source material surrounding painting of my father

Source material surrounding painting of my father