I wish I had this painting for the Childhood in Decline exhibit at the now defunct Blank Canvas Gallery in New Hope, PA. But I needed to read the owner’s statement for the show to create this painting. She wrote of her difficult childhood, and I have been thinking of it on and off for over a month. I created this painting using her statement as inspiration, as well as the affecting photographs of poor children, Spitalfields Nippers by Horace Warner. A compilation of mug shots by Raynal Pellicer and An Illustrated History of Boxing by Nat Fleischer and Sam Andres, updated by Dan Rafael were also consulted.
I am happy with this dancer with the face of a fighter. The past few months have seen a lot of starts and stops with nothing coming together in a way that was meaningful for me. I found the face for this painting in the Illustrated History of Boxing and a similar figure to the one I painted in a book about male ballet dancers. Combining the beautiful with the ugly makes for a compelling image.
While listening to a wonderful lecture by Kenneth Bartlett, I found out about one of the most popular books of the Victorian era, and beyond, specifically addressed to women, that is Mrs. Beeton’s Book of Household Management of 1861. I am enjoying reading it, and contrasting it visually with images I have been collecting of female (and some male) victims on crime shows such as Law and Order: Special Victims Unit. The difference between the gentle guidance to women and the violence many women experience inside and outside the home are here depicted.
Two preliminary oil sketches:
The portrait show opened yesterday at The Arts Council of Princeton Paul Robeson Center for the Arts The other artists in the show are Kim Alsbrooks, Mary DeWitt, and Jim Doherty. Maria Evans curated the exhibition.
I am working on another painting of Gregory now. But I need to give his sister Alicia most of the credit. She dressed him up and photographed him so these are her ideas.